Honoring Princess Diana and What She Stood For, Helping Others Giving Back

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Debbi DiMaggio


As a way to celebrate the life of my role model on her birthday, I created a campaign to celebrate another young woman, fashionista and summer birthday girl –

Please Meet Tashawna.

Behind the Scenes – Photo Fashion Shoot for Tashawna – An extraordinary day for all.

Fashion Shoot just for Tashawna in San Francisco at Cuyana Union Square – Tashawna preparing for her Fashion Shoot  

Tashawna, myself and Gwen, Tashawna’s mom in Cuyana’s Showroom

Stopping Traffic in Union Square on one of San Francisco’s busiest and touristy streets, Powell Street 🙂

Watch this inspirational ABC7 News Bay Area story about a special Love Bravely Birthday Party for Tashawna hosted by Philanthropist Debbi DiMaggio at George Mark Children’s House on August 29, 2015, in San Leandro, California. During this event, the Alameda County Fire and San Leandro Police Departments sang happy birthday to Brave Tashawna with the hosts. It was heartwarming to see Tashawna smile often, despite living with Friedriech’s Ataxia (a rare inherited disease like ALS.) This event was part of a summer make-a-wish type campaign for Tashawna by Debbi DiMaggio and George Mark Children’s House that included a Fashion Day in July. Photos and videos were sent by the party organizers to ABC7 from Bay Area Photographer Quentin Bacon for this story. For more information, visit http://debbidimaggio.com and http://www.georgemark.org ( by Liz Kelly, Goody PR )

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How it all began:

In July I embarked on a campaign to honor Princess Diana for her July Birthday so I pulled together an amazing team to help me make it happen.  I wanted to focus the upcoming month on a philanthropy rather than our recently published residential real estate book. I wasn’t sure who would be the benefactor since I have my hands in a wide array of charities primarily focused on children. In the end George Mark Children’s House was chosen. After sharing my dream and vision to do something beyond soliciting donations and attending committee meetings; but something that would create a greater impact in someone’s life.

When Ken Sommer of George Mark heard my story he immediately thought of Tashawna and from there things blossomed. At the end of July I rallied together my team. It didn’t even occur to me when we were planning the fashion shoot that I had the perfect people to partner with who also share my same passion to help others. The cool thing and bonus was that Tashawna also loves fashion just as I do, and of course, my role model and fashion icon Lady Diana. So not only was my vision of creating an experience for someone I did not know coming to fruition but it blossomed into so much more.

Lights – Camera – Action

We met at Cuyana in Union Square, one of my favorite small boutiques. Cuyana had a large room for us to prepare Tashawna for her #FashionShoot. Iris and Karen of Bounce Blow Bar in Oakland provided Hair and Make Up for Tashawna, making her look like the princess she is.  When her hair and make up was complete and she was ready for the big reveal, it was heart warming, wonderful and emotional to watch as she lifted the small mirror up to her face and the smile that turned up her lips from ear to ear. Tashawna was beaming. She was Cinderella. Tashawna was than quickly wisked away by the Cuyana photographer and her lighting assistant for her photo shoot. During the day, my dear friend and photographer Quentin snapped Behind the Scenes photographs that can be seen on my Facebook page under Albums.

The photo shoot continued from the Cuyana showroom to smack dab in the middle of bustling Union Square – tourists, shoppers and all. Tashawna stopped traffic.  During one shot we stopped people from crossing in front of the cable car as it was coming down Powell Street, as we were waiting to get the perfect shot of the cable car passing behind Tashawna. It was perfect – just see for yourself. It was a beautiful day that ended with a “wrap party” back in the studio with cake and champagne. But if that wasn’t enough..

Once I received the photographs we chose one that was ideal to create the birthday invitation I had imagined; a magazine cover featuring Tashawna on the cover of Ebony Magazine. It was stunning. I also had the invitation blown up to a large hardback poster which greeted guests at her birthday party.

Tashawna became larger than life.

In August the events culminated with a birthday celebration with family and friends along with special guest appearances by the San Leandro, Alameda County Fire Departments and San Leandro Police Departments whom all sang happy birthday to Tashawna. And DJ Victor Harris entertained the guests. The cake was decorated with an image of Tashawna, even the cookies made by one of the George Mark volunteers included her photo and hashtags #CelebrateLove and more.

Tashawna was the bell of the ball.

Why Tashawna – A bit about her disease:

Tashawna is a brave young woman living with a rare disease that affects the nervous system called ‪#‎Friedreichsataxia‬

Friedreich’s ataxia is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system. It manifests in initial symptoms of poor coordination such as gait disturbance; it can also lead to scoliosis, heart disease and diabetes, but does not affect cognitive function.

Please continue to share your birthday wishes for Tashawna on the George Mark Children’s House Facebook page. We thank you in advance!

Learn More about this fabulous and fun campaign for Tashawna

A huge gratitude of thanks to my team:

Hair and Make Up by Bounce Blow Bar

Photos by Quentin Bacon | San Francisco and Manhut of Cuyana

Liz Kelly, Publicist

Mary Rau, Facebook Social Media

To see more image go to my FaceBook Page

Glam Shots, Behind the Scenes and the grand finale, Tashawna’s Birthday Party 🙂 #CelebrateLife #CelebrateLove #FashionDreamsComeTrue #GeorgeMarkChildrensHouse


Giving back and doing for others gives me such pleasure. It allows me to step out of my daily life and routine and puts me into the life of another, someone in need of a lift. No matter how small or how big, the act of doing for others does so much more for the person giving, helping or doing for another. – Philanthropist, Debbi DiMaggio


July 1 | 2015              http://www.prweb.com/releases/celebrate-life/fashion-dreams-come-true/prweb12824386.htm

August 14th | 2015   http://www.prweb.com/releases/love-bravely/tashawna-birthday/prweb12904248.htm

Wrap Up | Recap     https://debbidimaggioblog.com/happy-birthday-tashawna/

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  1. […] Read the Previous Blog // Tashawna’s Birthday Party […]

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