May 26th, 2012, 8:29 pm · · posted by GUEST
There were some good times to be had Friday night — and not the kind of usual weekend sloshiness, but kind that motivates you the next morning to take on the world rather than to just leave it all behind. Local charity group Turkey & Friends, known for it’s advocacy for bringing awareness to medical causes such as multiple sclerosis and cancer through it’s passion for the arts, launched a diverse event integrating Orange County-based fashion designers and bands to benefit MS at Malone’s Bar & Grill in Santa Ana.
With live performances by the Relative Strangers, Argyle Street and 20 Bux, a fashion show featuring up-and-coming designer Paola Avilez and co-profit brand Collaborative World and raffles that included Paul Frank swag, Disneyland tickets and more goodies, the event helped shed light on the support team around the Turkey & Friends’ efforts.
Turkey & Friends was founded by Steve Guzman (aka “Turkey”) in 2006, a year after he was diagnosed with MS at the age of 20. Soon after however, he miraculously overcame the symptoms, yet to this day the disease can sporadically take over at any moment.
“You wake up one day and life has changed and there is no cure for it,” Guzman says.
This year alone, the group has raised over $3,000 in donations for MS and showed up with a team of 292 supporters at the MS Walk at UC Irvine in early May. Turkey & Friends is quickly building awareness and even gaining buzz worldwide with a recently launched team of 25 members located in Ghana, Africa.
MC of the night, the charismatic Brian Walsh, also the videographer and social media coordinator for non-profit Keep A Breast at the upcoming Vans Warped Tour, took the stage between sets. Walsh and Guzman were first introduced while studying film at Orange Coast College and have since collaborated on the video production front.
“I didn’t know what MS was until I met Steve,” Walsh says. “It’s fun to do something bigger than yourself.”
There are talks of a potential collaboration with the breast cancer awareness organization as well. Turkey & Friends aims to launch events similar to Friday night’s success three-to-four times a year. This summer, the group is working on the Infusion Festival, a traveling art show that will also feature a charitable aspect.
Photos by Jennifer Montes De Oca, for OrangeCounty.com.
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