Pat Cleveland, the legendary model, has been diagnosed with colon cancer, according to her family. Her husband Paul Van Ravenstein announced on GoFundMe that she was taken to the hospital in Paris and has undergone surgery. Soon, she’ll come to the United States to start treatment. “Thankfully, Anna [Cleveland] has been by Pat’s side throughout, taking great care of her mom,” Van Ravenstein wrote. He told WWD she went to the hospital about ten days ago and went into surgery March 23. “She has been slowly improving over the last week, so it’s a process,” he said.
Cleveland is a true supermodel in any context — she survived five decades as a model, walked in the Battle of Versailles, and posed for Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol — but she is especially known for paving the way for black models in the 1960s. At one point, she boycotted the United States until a black model appeared on the cover of Vogue (coincidentally, her career started when a Vogue editor stopped her in the street). She’s also famous for her quotes: She’s compared Kanye West to a sea creature, said she wished her memoir focused more on her lovers, and discussed Karl Lagerfeld’s muscles (glowingly). She’s still walking runways at 68, making appearances in both New York and Paris this February.
Hopefully she will make a full recovery. So far the campaign has raised $44,000 out of a goal of $150,000. Van Ravenstein told WWD, “It is just amazing to see everybody reach out.” In the mean time, how sad is it that one of the biggest names in fashion needs a GoFundMe to help with medical bills?