JUST IN: Golden Globe’s Nominee “This Is Us” Chrissy Metz To Be Keynote Speaker At The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Lunch On February 28

The Golden Globe nominees were revealed Monday and Chrissy Metz is once again nominated for her role as Kate Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us.” But her success and fame didn’t come overnight or easily. Chrissy’s life story is one that screenwriters dream of. Sure, she went through the trials and tribulations that many actresses face like being out of work, surviving thanks to friends and family, watching roles won by others and learning to accept rejection.

Chrissy Metz*

But Chrissy dealing with a literally “bigger” issue — her weight. Admitting that she was born chubby, she was just 11 when she went to Weight Watchers. Her weight jumped up and down the scales at one point losing 50 pounds only to “gain back 100 pounds due to depression and ‘eating my feelings.’”

Then the moment came when all the stars were in alignment and she landed the role of Kate, whose storyline was so akin to Chrissy’s. But even more than the role, Chrissy’s popularity has been due to her being so open about her dealing with her weight issues.

For that reason, The Elisa Project organizers are thrilled that they have just gotten word that Chrissy will be at the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club for a conversation with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister, “As an organization dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders, we know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. This year’s luncheon is not to be missed!”

Honorary co-chairs will be Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes.

Starting at $2,000, tables are available for purchase now. If space permits, individual tickets will go on sale in early February. Suggestion: Gather up pals and get a table locked down now. Don’t depend on those individual spots coming available.

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

Dallas Historical Society’s Awards For Excellence In Community Services Recipients Displayed Insight And Graciousness In Accepting Their Honors

While the Dallas Historical Society‘s 2017 Awards for Excellence in Community Services crowds gathered outside the Fairmont’s International Ballroom, the VIPs and 2017 Awardees attended a private reception in the Venetian Room on Thursday, November 9. For some it was a great opportunity for people whose paths had never crossed to meet up.

Lindalyn Adams, Mary McDermott Cook and David Brown

Diane Bumpas and Bill Helmbrecht

Caro Stalcup

Joan Walne, Mary Suhm and Laurie Evans

For instance, historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was almost giddy meeting former Police Chief David Brown. Speaking of David, he reported that due to his ABC contract, he was splitting his time between Dallas and New York City… Across the way, Laurie Evans was doing the swivel head looking for her husband Dr. Phil Evans to arrive. She knew he would be there, but when? … Already on the scene were past Award recipients Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, who were there to celebrate Kern’s brother Hobson Wildenthal’s being recognized for his work in education…. Patricia Meadows reported that the family home in the State Thomas neighborhood was on the market… and others like Joan and Alan Walne, Mary McDermott Cook, Louise Caldwell, Diane Bumpas, Caro Stalcup, Mary Suhm, Creative Arts Awardee Carolyn Brown, Arts Leadership Awardees Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller and Sports Leadership Awardee Tony Dorsett with his wife Janet Dorsett.

Louise Caldwell

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and Mary McDermott Cook

Janet and Tony Dorsett

Phil Evans

 

Just moments before the chimes called the group to the luncheon, Laurie was relieved to see her husband arrive with a big smile. Seems he had gotten an early Christmas gift — a million-dollar grant —from an “anonymous” donor. That’s a pretty darn good excuse for a delayed arrival.

The ballroom was filled to the max, as people like Jill Bernstein, Sandi Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Gail Thomas and Lee Cullum took their seats. At 11:50 a.m., Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas called the group to order. Following an invocation by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church Rev. Chris Girata, Stewart introduced Luncheon Co-Chairs Carol Montgomery and Kaysie Montgomery, who welcomed the group. They were followed by Dallas Historical Society Chair Bill Helmbrecht, who officially thanked all for attending and supporting the society.

Kaysie Montgomery and Carol Montgomery

All of this was done within six minutes! Promptly at high noon, Stewart reported that the program would continue in a few minutes and guests should settle back for lunch. Missing in action was table host Bobby Lyle, who was under the weather, but his table was filled with Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean… Arriving just after luncheon was underway was Shirley Miller.

Adam McGill, Stan Levenson and Robert Prejean

At 12:25 p.m. Stewart was back at the podium and invited the award recipients to take their places in chairs on the stage.

Some of the highlights from the acceptance speeches were:

Carolyn Brown and Hobson Wildenthal

  • Hobson Wildenthal for Education — The University of Texas at Dallas Executive VP recalled how 50 years ago TI was created and the UTD resulted. 157 National Merit Scholars were in this year’s freshman class and it was designated as the Best U.S. College less than 50 years old. He finished saying, “Margaret McDermott is the queen of Dallas.”
  • Steve Pounders for Health/Science — The internist told how in 1981 he was just starting his care and discovered a disease that was affecting young men that would late become known as AIDs. It would become his life’s calling resulting in his serving as the primary physician for men in the Dallas Buyers Club. He thanked Veletta Lill, Resource Center’s Cece Cox and his spouse James O’Reilly.
  • Willis Winters for History — The Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director gave thanks for the recent passage of the bond: “One of the first projects will be the restoration of the Hall of State.”
  • Jorge Baldor for Philanthropy — The Cuban-born businessman acknowledged that 800,000 have been the recipients of DACA and encouraged audience members to support the Dream Act. He went on to thank the event and kitchen staffs and finished by reporting that several hundred students are living under bridges and still going to school.

Then the most poignant moment came unexpectedly. It was when former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett accepted his award for sports. He admitted that he was a little taken aback by the people, and went on to recognize the late Cowboys Coach Tom Landry, who made Tony understand that things were going to be tougher in the NFL. Landry held Tony back and it taught the young football player patience.  Tony went on, saying, “I was always told that I was too small, time and time again.” Through effort and determination, he was able to play in the NFL for 13 years.  

Looking at the other recipients seated on stage, he went on to saying “These are fantastic and incredible people up here.”

He thanked his wife Janet saying, “What I’m going through is tough, and she puts up with me. It can be really difficult and she understands that that’s not the real me. This is tough.”

Having gone beyond his two-minute limit, Janet was seen quietly approaching the side of the stage. Tony heard her say, “Tony,” and he took note and sat down.

Moments later David Brown took his place at the podium to accept the Jubilee History Maker Award. He could have easily sucked the air out of the room for his leadership for the July 7 tragedy. Instead, David rallied the audience to give Tony another round of appreciation. The applause was deafening for both Tony and David’s act of graciousness.

David went to tell how his father hadn’t wanted him to be “a cop.” But on the day when he was made a lieutenant at the Hall of State, he had what would be the last conversation with his father, who said “You were right in your choice.”

Then David went further back in his history, telling how in fourth grade, he had played Captain George Ludwig von Trapp in the “Sound of Music.” The students had to do more than learn their roles. They had to research the backstory of the musical. Today he had become nostalgic when seeing the white flowers on the tables and hearing the musician play “Edelweiss” — the last song Richard Rodgers wrote with Oscar Hammerstein.

Tying it all together, he said, “Remember who we are, what we stand for, how we should treat each other.” Then he voiced disappointment at the lack of participation in the recent election.

At 1:14 p.m., Bill Helmbrecht returned to the stage and invited all to take part in the annual A.C. Greene Toast.

For more pictures of the day, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Legendary B.J. Thomas Took The Stage For Northwood Woman’s Club’s Annual Kaleidoscope Fundraiser At Intercontinental Hotel

While the rest of North Texas was resting after a morning of runs/walks on Saturday, October 28, the Northwood Woman’s Club was in overdrive at the Intercontinental Hotel for its annual Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” fundraiser. In addition to having The Triumphs on stage, the star of the night was the legendary B.J. Thomas. Here’s a report from the field that was delayed due to a MySweetCharity elf’s being asleep at the wheel: 

No raindrops fell Saturday, October 28, on the Northwood Woman’s Club Kaleidoscope 2017 “Believe in Love” Gala at the Intercontinental Hotel. The only raindrops at the event came later in the evening in a song when music legend B.J. Thomas took the stage and sang his Grammy winning hit “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

Upon arrival, guests mingled and explored the silent auction items and wine pull. As guests moved to their tables for dinner, they viewed a slide show featuring the beneficiaries of the event—Attitudes and Attire, Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UTD, Cristo Rey Dallas, Dallas CASA, Interfaith Family Services, St. Simon’s After-School, and NWC Scholarship Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Gala chair Leslie Apgar welcomed guests into dinner as the band The Triumphs took the stage to play during dinner. The Triumphs, the original band that recorded with B.J. Thomas, added a touch of nostalgia to the evening with their familiar hits from the sixties and seventies.

Sharyl Weber, Patricia Kay Dube and Vaughn Gross*

To start the evening’s program NWC President Patricia Kay Dube welcomed everyone and thanked them for supporting the event. She then turned the program over to Master of Ceremonies and Auctioneer Dean McCurry, who recognized guests from each of the beneficiary organizations, including Dallas CASA President and Executive Director Kathleen LaValle and St. Simon’s After School Executive Director Maria Vizzo.

To start the live auction, Dean urged the crowd to “bid up” on a variety of live auction items. He kept the bidding lively for hot sports items such as a Cowboys game experience that includes tickets in a suite and on field passes, and a suite at a Mavericks game for twelve people. Travel items up for auction included a vacation home in Breckenridge, Colorado and a stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Hawaii. The live auction concluded with a trip to New York in December to see the Billy Joel concert, and this item generated so many bids that several additional trips were awarded to bidders.

B.J. Thomas*

Ready for the featured entertainment of the evening by five-time Grammy winner B.J. Thomas, the crowd enthusiastically welcomed B.J. to the stage and filled the dance floor to sing along and dance as he performed his many hit songs, including “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Hooked on a Feeling” and many others.

The Triumphs closed out the evening with more music and dancing.

The best part of the evening was the success of the event in raising funds for NWC’s beneficiaries and scholarship fund.

* Photo provided by Northwood Woman's Club

Housing Crisis Center’s Colors Of Courage 2017 Patriot Party Assists Homeless Vets Affected By The ‘Hidden Wounds Of War’

It’s a disturbing fact, but Dallas is home to more than 1,000 homeless military veterans—and the number keeps rising. Every night, the Housing Crisis Center provides housing and support services to more than 100 vets and their families. 

So supporting these vets, and helping save them from a life of poverty and homelessness, was the purpose of the center’s Colors of Courage 2017 Patriot Party event Friday, November 3, at Dallas’ George W. Bush Institute.

Laura Moon

Denny and Connie Carreker

Leslie Ann Crozier

Dennis Moon, Katherine Wynne and Ken Hersh

Co-chaired by Laura and Dennis Moon, with Connie and Denny Carreker serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser got started with a reception and silent auction in the institute’s Cross Hall.  There, guests including Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Katherine Wynne, Sunie and Steve Solomon, Leslie Ann Crozier, Lisa and Clay Cooley, and Mary Martha and John Pickens were serenaded by a guitar-strumming musician singing Beatles and Eagles songs.

Sunie and Steve Solomon

John and Mary Martha Pickens

Then everyone repaired to the institute’s auditorium, where they were formally welcomed to the evening’s festivities by Edward Berbarie, board chairman of the Housing Crisis Center. Soon enough Edward gave way to Bush Center President and CEO Ken Hersh, who proceeded to conduct an onstage Q&A with the evening’s star attraction, retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

Chiarelli, the Army’s 32nd Vice Chief of Staff, was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Army and its 1.1 million active and reserve soldiers, and at one time commanded all forces in Iraq. The retired four-star general told Hersh it was then that he first observed the “hidden wounds of war” in soldiers, including the “interconnected problems” of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress.

Peter Chiarelli

“We’ve had these problems since war began,” Chiarelli said, “but we’re just now recognizing them.”

Chiarelli is now chief executive officer of an independent nonprofit called ONE MIND, he told Hersh. The group advocates on behalf of those affected by brain disease and injury via public-private partnerships between healthcare providers, researchers, academics, and the healthcare industry.

For example, Chiarelli said, ONE MIND is working with Abbott Laboratories, which is “developing a chip and a hand-held blood analyzer that can help tell if a person has been concussed.” He added, “We want to get drug companies involved in creating targeted drugs for these diseases … and really do something to help these veterans.”

What keeps you up at night? Hersh asked Chiarelli at one point. He replied: “Those young Americans who have suffered.”

Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Sherri Ansley and Lisa Cooley

Once the talk concluded, Sherri Ansley, executive director of the Housing Crisis Center, took to the podium and announced, “Now it’s time to have a party!” With that she invited everyone into the institute’s Hall of State, where there would be dinner, dancing, and a live auction featuring artwork, out-of-state trips, and a dinner for eight prepared by Kent Rathbun.

Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Soared With Awards And Former Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison At Women Of Distinction Luncheon

Just days before the Boy Scouts opened their campfires to include girls. That shot over the Girl Scouts’ heads may have shuddered the higher ups, but the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas hardly took notice. They were marching ahead with their Women of Distinction Luncheon and future plans for their organization.

Led by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Barkowski, they were marching ahead with their Women of Distinction Luncheon on Friday, November 3, at the Omni Dallas and the vision of their organization.

Marianne Staubach, Linda Perryman Evans and Sarah Losinger

By 11:30, the Trinity Ballroom was already filled with Jan Hegi, Margo Goodwin, Connie O’Neill, Tom Campbell, Linda Perryman Evans, David Martineau, Marianne Staubach, Sarah Losinger, Becky Bowen, Tracy Lange and the Cooley ladies (Lisa, Ciara and Bela). Just minutes later a big voice signaled it was time to fill seats that had boxes of Girl Scout cookies as gifts from Marianne and Roger Staubach. Being dutiful types, they followed orders, so Event Co-Chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer could take their places at the podium to welcome the guests with a dozen of uniformed girls representing all segments of the program standing behind them.

Susan Glassmoyer and Laura Downing with the Scouts

They were followed by emcee Clarice Tinsley, who asked all in the room who had any connections with the organization to raise their hands. Up went 85% of the room.

Jennifer Bartkowski, Shelly Goel, Kit Addelman and Clarice Tinsley

Jennifer Bartkowski, Emma Rose Shore, Kit Addelman and Clarice Tinsley

Jennifer Bartkoski, Todd Williams, Kit Addelman and Clarise Tinsley

She was joined at the podium by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Ambassador Brynna Boyd to co-anchor, but first they had to have a selfie. Clarice thanked various sponsors like AT&T, Lyda Hill and Nancy Ann Hunt. She was then joined on stage by Jennifer and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Board Chair Kit Addleman, who helped her present the following awards:

  • Young Women of Distinction Award — Shelly Goel and Emma Rose Shore
  • Man Enough to Be A Girl Scout Award — Todd Williams
  • Women of Distinction Award — Sara Martineau and Nina Vaca

Jennifer Bartkowski, Sara Martineau, Kit Addelman and Clarice Tinsley

Jennifer Bartkowski, Nina Vaca, Kit Addelman and Clarice Tinsley

Following a video focusing on the Girl Scouts program like the STEM Center of Excellence, Jennifer told the group that girls are the largest untapped resource in the country. She explained the formula for female leadership involved four factors:

  • Girl Potential
  • Girl Scouts leadership
  • STEM programming
  • Caring adults

Describing the Girls Scouts program in Dallas as ground zero thanks to the STEM Center, the plan calls for 2.5M girls to be a part of the STEM program by 2025. Thanks to the support of the community, 4,000 girls will be able to utilize STEM.

When the question of how to make sure every girl can have access to the Girl Scouts opportunities, Jennifer looked out at the crowd and said that if each guest gave $100, it would result in $500,000 to support the Girl Scouts mission.

Just before breaking for lunch, Clarice reported that the day’s goal would be revealed on the thermometer appearing on the room’s four screens.

During lunch, Scouts with sacks collected donation envelopes.

At 12:27, Angela Ross  introduced a video on STEM. When the lights came up Brynna was back at the podium to introduce keynote speaker Dr. Mae Jemison, “the first woman of color to go into space.”

Brynna Boyd

Angela Ross

Immediately Mae group hugged the guests by reporting that she had recently been made an honorary Girl Scouts for Life. She then told the generations of gals that in future dealings “make sure you have a position at the table.”

Mae Jemison

Recalling her youth in the 1960s, it was a time when everyone was being able to participate thanks to civil rights, women’s rights, etc. People wanted to put Mae in a box. Would she be a creative type or a scientist?

Back in those days no one considered that a person…let along a woman could be both. In her love of both the creative and scientific worlds, she took an Alvin Alley poster on her flight into space.

In hindsight, she learned — “I think, I wonder, I understand.”

Currently working on the 100 Year Starship, Mae admitted that in today’s world, “We are living with things that were developed in the 50s and 60s like lasers, genetic research, etc.”

She left the room of women and men with a sobering note. According to a report in the New York Times, in a Google search, parents Google two times as much “Is my son a genius?” and “Is my son slow?” On the other hand, parents searched the following questions about their daughters: “Is my daughter fat?” and “Is my daughter ugly?” 

Mae’s response was that parents “have to support their girls.”

As “A Writer’s Garden” Symposium And Luncheon Nears, Patrons Gather At Diane And Scott Sealy’s For Sipping And Sampling

Just days before “A Writer’s Garden” at the Dallas Arboretum, Diane and Scott Sealy hosted at cocktail reception on Monday, October 30, at their home complete with the pre-event book sales, food and foodies from Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. Here’s a report from the field:

Scott and Diane Sealy*

The Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden held a reception for the patrons of the 11th annual A Writer’s Garden” Literary Symposium and Luncheon on Monday, October 30, in the home of Diane and Scott Sealy.

The symposium “Authentic Texas…food and gardensto be held on November 2 features three authors presenting engaging histories showcasing the cultural influences that shaped the distinct styles of Texas food, heartfelt stories about the farming and ranching families that are in the forefront of the organic food movement, and personal experiences that celebrate the value of using native plants and flowers in the planned landscape.

For the reception, guests were treated not only to a preview of the books that will be available for sale at the event, but also sampled appetizers made with recipes from Texas author Jessica Dupuy’s new cookbook “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State.”

Elizabeth Rois-Mendez*

Marsha Dowler*

Susan Adzick and Kay Weeks*

Chef Elizabeth Rois-Mendez of Classic Gourmet Catering prepared delicious recipes including Pimento Cheese Canapes, The Original Nacho, Texas Gulf Fish Tacos with side of Chipotle Mayo, Tequila Lime Pie, and Texas Pecan Pie. It was a smart marketing ploy by Co-Chairs Kay Weeks and Susan Adzick to kick start the book sales. Marsha Dowler, who manages the sales each year, allowed guests to pre-order the books that evening to ensure they get a copy. In past years, attendees at the symposium have left empty handed when the books sold out quickly. It looks to be another year where attendees may have to order online from Amazon.

Nanci Taylor, Dorothea Meltzer and Terri Taylor*

None of the featured authors could be present, so special guests for the evening were Nanci Taylor and Terri Taylor from the local magazine Edible Dallas and Fort Worth. For eight years, they have shared stories of the North Texas food community including growers, food and drink artisans, merchants, restaurateurs and chefs. The quarterly publication features recipes from each season.

Women’s Council President Melissa Lewis introduced Honorary Chair Nancy Bierman, founder of “A Writer’s Garden” and past president of the Women’s Council. She also thanked Dorothea Meltzer for securing another stellar line up of authors for the program, ensuring the success of the event. Dorothea has worked tirelessly to plan the speakers for the past several years.

Cynthia Beaird, Jill Goldberg and Venise Stuart*

Guests included Mad Hatter’s Chair Venise Stuart, Sarah and Mark Hardin, Barbara and Bob Bigham, Jo Anne and Mike McCullough, Jill Goldberg, Cynthia Beaird, Linda Spina, Lisa and Kendall Laughlin and Patricia Cowlishaw.

Sponsors for the event include Dallas law firm Geary, Porter and Donovan (third year of sponsorship), Hilton Dallas/Park Cities, Worth New York and Edible Dallas and Fort Worth.

The symposium will be held Thursday, November 2, 2017, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall and is part of the Women’s Council’s 35th Anniversary Celebration.

As part of the Women’s Council’s 35th anniversary celebration, the featured authors for the Thursday, November 2nd symposium at the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall include:

  • Jessica Dupuy of Austin — well-known columnist for Texas Monthly and author of “United Tastes of Texas: Authentic Recipes from All Corners of the Lone Star State”;
  • Pamela Walker of Santa Fe — local farm and food activist, and author of “Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas: Profiles of Organic Farmers and Ranchers across the State”;
  • Andrea De-Long-Amaya of Austin— Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, garden columnist and teacher.

For the past thirty-five years, the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the development, funding, maintenance and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the centerpiece garden of the Dallas Arboretum. Dedicated to the universal spirit of women, it is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, built by women and funded by the efforts of women. The support of over 550 members of the non-profit, all volunteer Women’s Council makes possible the continued improvement and expansion of A Woman’s Garden.

* Photo provided by Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum

Animal-Loving Karen And Jeff Banister Step Up To The Plate As Honorary Co-Chairs For Operation Kindness’ 25th Annual Canines, Cats And Cabernet

Alexandra Banister, Jacob Banister and Jeff and Karen Banister*

Texas Rangers General Manager Jeff Banister is a familiar name in the sports pages and on the evening news. But what some might not know is that he and his wife Karen Banister have two kids, Alexandra and Jacob, two Labradors (Bella and Scout) and two Maltese (Gracie and Cooper).  

Since the baseball season ended last month, the folks at Operation Kindness took advantage of the pooch-loving Banisters’ down time and arranged to have them serve as the honorary co-chairs for its 25th Annual Canines, Cats and Cabernet at the Omni Dallas on Saturday.

Nelda Cain Pickens (File photo)

According to Operation Kindness CEO Jim Hanophy, “Canines, Cats and Cabernet gets bigger and better every year, and we are honored to celebrate our 25th anniversary of this event with Jeff and Karen Banister. We know that with their support we will be able to knock this year’s event out of the park.”

But the Banisters aren’t the only ones cheerleading for the organization. Operation Kindness supporter Nelda Cain got involved with the no-kill shelter through her friend/OK Board Chair Kathy Kinser. As Nelda explained, “I have loved getting to know the powers that be at Operation Kindness and feel my efforts are entirely worth it. It is the oldest no-kill shelter in Dallas and serves the entire county including Fort Worth. It is also amazing what a following the organization has attracted, as the work is needed and successful.”

One of the highlights will be the furry guests of honor that have loved staying at Operation Kindness, but would love to find permanent homes.

Hoss*

Abby*

Cupcake*

Marlon*

In addition to a dinner and a live and a silent auction, there will be a raffle for a seven-night stay at an RCI Resort in the city of the winner’s choice plus a $500 Visa gift card for airfare. Chances are just $50, but are in limited supply.  

Tickets are the gala are available here.

* Photo courtesy of Operation Kindness

1,300 People Had A “Hinge” Experience By “Connecting” With New BFF Jamie Lee Curtis At The Celebrating Women Luncheon

Editor’s warning: This post is a very long one, but it’s worth the read. So, settle back to find out why the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon was one of the most memorable get togethers of the year.

It depended on your age when it came to Jamie Lee Curtis. Those with decades on their meters remembered her as the darling daughter of Hollywood’s golden age couple of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. Then there was the generation that immediately thought of her being terrorized in “Halloween” and “Terror Train.”  Others recalled her as the “bod” in “Trading Places” and “Perfect.” And, yes, there’s a current generation who have read her 14 books to their children.

The question at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation‘s Celebrating Women Luncheon was, “Who really is Jamie Lee Curtis?” That’s because Jamie (“Just call me Jamie, not Jamie Lee”) was going to be the featured speaker at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

Before heading down to the VIP meet-and-greet in the Anatole’s Wedgwood Room that Thursday morning, Jamie showed the first signs of how the day would go. She told an event staffer that she was wearing no makeup and had done her own hair. But if they wanted someone to do her makeup, it was up to them. No need; Jamie was just fine in her own skin. Earlier someone had asked if she wanted to review the questions that would be posed to her in the chat with Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson. Nope. She would just take them as they came.

Vicky Lattner, Nancy Carter, Emilynn Wilson and Di Johnston

Before she entered the room, the crowd including Kristen Hinton, Norm Bagwell, Barbara Stuart, Carol Seay, Jimmie Westcott, Lisa Cooley, Tanya Foster, Aileen Pratt, Kate Swail, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Debbie Robinson, Polly Tadlock, Fredye Factor, Sarah Losinger, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Julie Ford, Rich Enthoven, Trisha Wilson, Tiffany Divis, Jennie and Stuart Reeves, Caren Kline and Dallas Morning Newsies Deborah Fleck, Selwyn Crawford and Mike Wilson was happily chatting and drinking coffee. Only a handful of people were getting in line for the grip-and-grin. That would quickly change.

Barbara Stuart, Carol Seay and Jimmie Westcott

Like a quarterback preparing for the big game, Jamie checked out the setup and approached the event photographer and suggested a place where she would stand with guests. As another photographer took a photo from the side, Jamie called the second photographer over and gave instructions to shoot directly in front of her. It wasn’t an order. She was advising the team on a game plan that would seamlessly score success. 

Even the guests became part of the team effort. Jamie would talk with each one and make sure that all were picture-perfect. When Gretchen Minyard arrived for her photo, Jamie adjusted the flower on Gretchen’s jacket. One young woman quickly put the finishing touches on her own makeup as she went through the line. She was thrilled for the photo opp. From the big smile in being photographed with Jamie, no one could tell that she had just had her first round of chemo the day before. Linda Custard, who had successfully gone through a year of treatments, had a special glow about her as she and Jamie embraced.

Linda Custard and Jamie Lee Curtis

Lindalyn Adams and Jamie Lee Curtis

After having her photo taken with Lindalyn Adams, Jamie called time-out and went to the side of the staging area to talk with Lindalyn, who had initiated Celebrating Women 18 years ago.

Now, the guests were starting to take notice and lined up for their picture with Jamie. A handful of guests stood back, saying they weren’t all that interested in a photo with Jamie. That would change. Soon enough the line was winding past the stanchions, and in the line now were those who’d said earlier they weren’t all that interested in a photo with Jamie.

Observers started taking note of how in each shot, Jamie would hit her mark with her legs crossed at the ankle, confidently hold her head high, smile with lips together and have an expression on her face as if she was truly proud to be in the picture. Her arms would adjust a bit with each photo, but they never struck the “sorority girl” pose.

Peggy Riggs, Jamie Lee Curtis and Leonard Riggs

Aileen Pratt and Jamie Lee Curtis

Selwyn Crawford, Deborah Fleck, Jamie Lee Curtis and Mike Wilson

When the final photo was taken, one of the photographers approached her and thanked her for her earlier direction, adding that each photo had turned out great. Jamie smiled with a twinkle in her eye and said, “I knew where the lights were.”

Dennis Bassler and Connie Yates

Nancy Dedman and Jill Smith

As the doors opened to the Chantilly Ballroom, the 1,300 guests like Tom Thumb President Dennis Bassler with Tom Thumb First Lady Connie Yates, Sara Martineau, Vicki Chapman, Joan Eleazer with daughter Layne Pitzer, Debbie Raynor, Nancy Dedman, Jill Smith, Gene Jones, Anita Arnold, Al Hill Jr., Linda Perryman Evans, Jan Langbein, Leslie Gosnell and sisters Nancy Marcus and Nelda Cain were taking their places. Before things got underway, Abigail Powell and Julie Powell stood behind Jamie, who had taken her place at the table next to Honorary Co-Chair Leonard Riggs. The Powells had their cellphones ready to snap a photo with her. When Jamie realized the situation, she stood up and took hold of the phone for a selfie with the girls.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Powell and Julie Powell

Soon, the program was underway with London Hibbs entering the center aisle singing “Heroes” and joined by dancers en route to the stage.

London Hibbs and dancers

They were followed by Event Chair Tucker Enthoven, who welcomed the guests and told how the monies raised at the luncheon stayed in North Texas. To emphasize the point, she told of 43-year-old attorney/wife/mother Carolyn Brown, who just the year before had been diagnosed with stage III tripe-negative breast cancer.

Carolyn Brown and her team of health care providers

Following a video about Carolyn’s journey, an army of 20 men and women lined up along the back of the stage. Through the group entered Carolyn, who explained that these people had been the ones who had taken her through nine months of surgeries, chemo and radiation, resulting in her being cancer-free. 

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven

Following lunch, Tucker returned to the podium with her Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek, who acknowledged Lindalyn, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation staff, the committee, presenting sponsor Tom Thumb and the mega donors. Ola then got the activity meter raised, explaining that at each table there was one program that was marked for the holder to receive an $80 gift certificate for Kendra Scott. 

Jim Hinton

Tucker thanked Honorary Co-Chairs Peggy and Leonard Riggs, announced a matching challenge of $25,000 and introduced Baylor Scott And White Health CEO Jim Hinton. Jim told how his life had been influenced by the women in his life, including his daughter, 12-year-old Nora Hinton, who the morning after the recent presidential election announced that she could still be the first female president. He emphasized the importance of the Celebrating Women Luncheon by announcing that, over the past 18 years, it had raised more than $30M, and more than 100,000 women had been screened last year at the Darlene Cass Imaging Center.

Following Jim, Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson introduced Jamie for a chat on stage. It would be a chat to be remembered.

Before getting started, though, Jamie addressed one part of the audience. “I was raised well. Not really, but I was raised semi-well. I actually made them move the chair so my back wasn’t to you. But I apologize that my back is to you, and I will try to pin it like a Rain Bird.”

Jamie Lee Curtis and Robin Robinson

Who is her hero? Robin asked. “I am almost 60, and I have spent a lot of time in ballrooms sitting around tables of 10 with well-heeled, well-dressed people like yourselves advocating for causes in ways to come together to raise money for important causes,” Jamie replied. “And I have seen myriad ways that these are done. I have never in my life seen a more moving example of what this is, the reason we are here, than that team of people coming up on the stage. I’ve done a lot of these and I think that’s why that challenge grant … and I hope we make it … I’d like to see a show of hands of 25 people in this room who will give a thousand dollars with me.* I want it right now. 25 people to give $25,000. [Hands went up throughout the room.] I want to know that $50,000 extra was raised in one minute for the work of those people who stood here for her and work for people you will never know. There is no more important thing for us to do today than to support them. I’m just privileged to be here.” 

Hands raise for the challenge

Did you have a cancer scare? Robin then asked Jamie. “I did, and in coming here I recalled it,” she answered. “My memory of it was the wait in that room for the diagnosis. Either an all-clear, which was my case, or the diagnosis of breast cancer and then the eventual treatment plan and care team stepping in. And what I remember about it, and the reason why I try to stay active, is that moment of feeling alone, even though my sweet husband Christopher [Guest] was sitting with me. It is a profound moment of truth. I was prepared for it. And as I got the ‘All clear’ from it, I was grateful to my doctor who found it. It was not noticed on the mammogram. It was not noticed radiologically. It was done from palpitation, by actually laying on his hands. I’m incredibly luck, but I’ll never forget that moment.”

In receiving the tough news from your doctor, Robin asked next, do you want her to ask how your life is going, or do you want straight talk? “Me? I’m coming up, if I’m lucky enough, on February 3rd of next year, I’ll be coming up on 19 years sober from drugs and alcohol,” Jamie answered. “In my opinion [addiction] is hereditary—my dad, my mom, my brother. And [for me] it was an opiate addiction. It was a small plastic surgery moment that led to an opiate addiction. It is no accident today that we have an epidemic in this country. I’m in recovery, and I want it as straight as you can give it to me. I’m as straight a person as it is. I want no subterfuge. I want it unvarnished. I want you to tell me the truth. I try to live an incredibly truthful life.”

How do you select the causes that you support? Robin asked. “I think like all the rest of us, I get touched by something,” Jamie replied. “As it is with breast cancer, it is a concentric circle in our lives. There is no place that I would go in the world and not come in contact immediately with someone either recovering from breast cancer, undergoing treatment or they have a sister or mother with breast cancer. I was in Los Angeles at a surprise wedding. I was seated at a long table, as we all were.

“I was chatting with three people across the table, and the woman seated directly across from me was from Italy. Lovely. I found her charming. And then another woman introduced herself and said that she and her husband were from Dallas. I said, ‘Oh, I’m going to Dallas in four days.’ She asked why and I said, ‘I’m going to speak at the breast cancer luncheon connected to Baylor.’ And she said, ‘Oh, those are my people! You’ll meet my oncologist.” She’s a 15-year survivor. And then the woman directly across from me, the one from Italy, said to the woman, ‘I just had a double mastectomy.’ Here we were a triangle. Three women connecting about breast cancer at a surprise wedding. To me the reason we’re here is to connect. We are not here to do anything but connect.”

Jamie Lee Curtis

Then Robin asked, “What got you into acting?” “It was an accident,” Jamie said. “There is a book that I love, ‘Special Topics in Calamity Physics,’ by Marisha Pessl. In it there is this great quote. She says you know, most people think life is all about like where you go to school, what degree you get, what college you get into, who you marry, what your first job is, what your starting salary is, blah, blah. She said, and I roughly quote, ‘It’s not. Life hinges on a couple of seconds you never see coming, and what you decide in those seconds determines everything from then on. And you’re not going to know what to do until you’re there.’ That’s my life.

“I was a D+ student, who got into the only college where my mother was the most famous alumnus. I majored in track. I was a non-student. I could barely spell ‘student.’ I came home for Christmas and ran into a guy who was a tennis teacher at my friend’s court and he said, ‘Hey, Jamie, I’m now managing actors, and they’re looking for someone to play Nancy Drew. Why don’t you go up for it?’ I was like ‘Okay.’ I didn’t get it, but then I ended up literally signing a seven-year contract with Universal Pictures (because they used to have contracts then). My point is that I went over to my friend’s house and a tennis teacher said, ‘Hey they’re looking for actors,’ and the next I knew I quit school and I connected in the exact same way the rest of my life.

“I never thought I would write a book in my life. As I mentioned, my SAT scores—I proudly say this for all you underachievers out there, you could be up here with your—excuse my French, your shitty SAT scores! My four-year-old daughter walked into my room one day and said, ‘When I was little, I used a diaper. But now I use the potty.’ And she walked out of the room. I just thought that was hilarious. I wrote down on a piece of paper, ‘When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth.’ I wrote the list of things that she couldn’t do and could do and at the end I wrote three things,

  • When I was little, I didn’t know what family was.
  • When I was little, I didn’t know what dreams were.
  • When I was little, I didn’t know who I was, but now I do.

 

“When I was finished writing that, I was sobbing and I realized I could write a book. Though I never dreamed I’d write a book, I sold it that day to a publisher in New York, and it was the first of 14 books I’ve written for children. I say it because the last thing in the world I thought I would do is write a book, and yet a book popped out.

“I’m going to tell you one more thing about life hinging on seconds you never see coming. It was 1984. I was single, sitting my apartment with my friend Debra Hill, who is no longer here, and I was getting ready to do the movie ‘Perfect.’ I opened Rolling Stone magazine. There was a picture of three guys with their arms around each other like guys do with shirt sleeves. There was a guy on the right who had a face like this [she made a funny face]. And I said to Debra, ‘I’m going to marry that guy.’ She said he was Chris Guest. I called his agent the next day, who told me he knew I was calling about Chris Guest. Debra had already called. He never called me.”

Jamie went on to tell how she continued with her life, and was even dating a fellow. After taking him to the airport one day, she drove to West Hollywood for dinner with Melanie Griffin and her husband Steven Bauer. A couple of tables away, Christopher was sitting there. Recalled Jamie: “He looked at me and went like this” [she shrugged her shoulders and made a face]. She responded in a similar fashion. As he got up to leave, he repeated the expression, to which she once again responded in the same way. The next day he called her, and they were married four months later.

Did you have mentors who helped you focus on what is important? Robin asked. “No. I’m not going to lie to you,” Jamie replied. “My mother was a surviving woman. She had a rough life. But she was a very grounded human being, and I credit her with a lot of the way I walk through the world. To be perfectly honest, mostly men hired me. It was because the business that I was in was predominantly male. Over the years I’ve partnered with women. My editor is a woman.”

Then came the moment that would become “the talk” for days to come.

Robin asked how she used her platform to address the issue of people using power over others. Looking at the floor clock, which showed that the time for their conversation was running out, Jamie said, “And that’s the real time we have left?”

Replied Robin: “I’ll tell you when we’re finished.”

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie said nothing. To the delight of the 1,000+ women in the room, she just held her index finger up and looked out at the audience as if to say, “Did he really just say that?”

And she let that expression and silence sit there for what probably seemed like an eternity for Robin. The oxygen in the room had been replaced with laughter.

With perfect timing, she said, “We need to talk. You’ll tell me when I’m done? I was merely trying to play by the time rule. I saw that the clock was running out. I was just asking … you’re blushing.”

The laughter only grew, and it was suspected that Robin was wishing that he could have taken back his “hinge” moment.

But like a great conductor, Jamie brought the room back to the serious subject that Robin had introduced. “What is happening today has been happening since the beginning of time,” she said. “And it always takes show business to be a catalyst for change. In recovery, I always knew that someone super-famous was going to have to die from an opiate overdose, before we changed the way we thought about opiates. Prince, a brilliant artist, was a fentanyl addict and he died from that. And now we change the rules. Now the president is convening a whole epidemic group to combat this.

“Sexual harassment and abuse have been in play since men in power have been in place. Through every generation, every business, every field, every color—there is no boundary. It’s just the nature of the beast, and it is a beast. And we are taking a look at it through the lens … pardon the pun … of Hollywood.  And it is going to create transformative change. It is going to take a little time. It is going to be a very challenging time for all us to look deep in ourselves and really figure out how we feel about it.”

She predicted that, as a result, more women would be put in positions of leadership.

Robin then said, “With your permission, I have one more.” Laughter.

Jamie answered, “That was flirting.” More laughter. “Yes, dear.”

His final question was, “What was the best moment of your life?”

She replied that it was being an adoptive mother of two children, Annie and Thomas. The moment was when, at 12:58 in the morning, Annie’s birth mother had called to say that she had given birth. Said Jamie: That was the “most transformative moment in my life. It began what has continued to be the greatest thing I will ever do in my life besides being sober. It is to share a life. It is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It has made me look in the mirror more often about myself. It has brought us a lot of grief in our family, and a lot of healing. A child wants connection. They don’t want stuff. They want people to lean in and look at them and hear them and cherish them. The modern world makes that very difficult. We all have to work very hard to counteract that. ” 

Thanks to Jamie, 1,300 people experienced hinge moments allowing them to connect with a very special cause and person.

So, who was Jamie Lee Curtis? On Thursday, October 26, she was the BFF for more than 1,300 people—and she’s welcome back anytime she wants.

Check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for more pictures from the luncheon.

* Follow up on the match challenge: Jamie’s invitation for people to join her in meeting the match not only met the goal, it surpassed it resulting in $60,000 from the challenge. And, no, the Celebrating Women organizers had no idea she was going to ask people to join her in donating $1,000.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon

Guests at Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 26, at the Hilton Anatole had more to celebrate than raising mega funds for breast cancer. They discovered a new BFF — guest speaker Jamie Lee Curtis.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Powell and Julie Powell

Lindalyn Adams and Jamie Lee Curtis

While some admitted that they had had no preconceived ideas about the day’s program chaired by Tucker Enthoven, they left the event delighted with Jamie’s honesty, openness, humor and range of subject matter. In fact, one luncheon-attending vet claimed that not since last year’s Hoda Kotb and Tim Gunn appearance had they been so impressed with a presentation.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Robin Robinson

The post is being prepared, so check out the pictures on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Aileen Pratt and Jamie Lee Curtis

Peggy Riggs, Jamie Lee Curtis and Leonard Riggs

Tucker Enthoven, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robin Robinson and Ola Fojtasek

PS — For those who are aficionados of the art of posing for photographers, check out Jamie at the grip-and-grin session. Observers noted how she always stood erect with her head up, looked at the camera straight on, never struck the “sorority-girl pose” and crossed her legs at the ankle in every shot. If you get a chance, just try to strike the “Jamie pose.” It’s a balancing act, but it works.

Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon Features A STEM Pioneer—And A Surprise

Leave it to the Dallas Women’s Foundation to host a great annual luncheon—even when things don’t go exactly according to plan. That was the case on Friday, October 20, when the nonprofit presented its 32nd Annual Luncheon, titled “She Who Dares,” at the Hilton Anatole. The keynote speaker was Dr. Hope Jahren, a famous geobiologist whose research focuses on plants and who uses her platform to address the issue of gender bias in the STEM field.

As guests including Margaret Keliher, Mary Martha Pickens, Lyda Hill, and Thear Suzuki packed the Anatole ballroom, luncheon Co-Chairs A. Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton welcomed them, declaring that “the ballroom is completely sold out!” They also announced that Lyda, who “loves supporting women in science,” had made a generous gift enabling Hope’s keynote talk to be live-streamed to 10,000 girls and young women at 20 different schools across Texas.

Following a video about three women in fields where females are under-represented—they were Jennifer Stimpson, an educator and scientist; Dr. Lucy Gildea, a chief science officer; and Dr. Amy Ho, an emergency physician—NexBank CEO John Holt revealed that the bank would match, dollar for dollar, all donations made during the luncheon, up to $100,000. The number to text was shown on the big screens, and by 11:51 the foundation had already raked in nearly $50,000.

Following an excellent lunch—butternut squash soup, roasted chicken breast, and two desserts—Foundation President and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson described the little packets of STEM Trading Cards (each one featured a woman blazing trails in STEM) that were being handed out, and noted that the tote board was rapidly approaching $72,000. Ros then introduced Hope, whom Ros said had written a memoir (“Lab Girl”) that “made me cry and made me laugh.”

With that, it was time for Hope’s much-anticipated keynote. Mixing humor about her Minnesota roots (“If you come to a place where they sell maple syrup and night crawlers—out of the same cooler—you’ve gone to Canada. Turn around and go back”) with a touching vulnerability (describing the lessons she learned from her late father), the unassuming scientist did not disappoint. She also talked about her study of, and love for, plants, which she said do all the things other living things do—except they can’t move.

Hope then described building a laboratory, with materials from Home Depot and Radio Shack, where she studies plants in plexiglass boxes, and how she’s used a $1,000 video camera to document how plants grow. In fact, she went on, she took a photograph of certain plants every 10 minutes for four days straight, aiming to document exactly how “alive” they really are. And, lucky us, we were about to see the result of her photographic efforts up on the giant screen.

Except, we really weren’t. It seems that, for whatever reason, Hope’s laptop screen had frozen, preventing the further projection of any images at all. “Let’s try the next slide,” she called out, to no avail. A technician rushed onstage and fiddled with a few things, but he had no luck, either. “I’m going to go forward and read from the book,” Hope said coolly, “and I’m sure that the powers-that-be will look at this” in the meantime.

Alas, that wasn’t to be, either. Proving the value of a good A/V person, if nothing else.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball

Mother Nature threatened to put a real crimp in the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 21. She had done it before and she was predicted to do an encore with rain, lightning and all types of frightening stuff.

Steve and Anne Stodghill and Sunie and Steve Solomon

Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon and their crackerjack team of baronesses were ready for whatever the old gal threw at them. Everything but the Ferris wheel was covered.

Kevin Kuykendall

And talk about the live auction. There were a lot of arms reaching for the ceiling as the bids impressed even longtime vets.

And wouldn’t you know. They even managed to talk Ma Nature into holding off her pity party puddles until the after-party was over.

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

While the post is being finalized, there are dozens and dozens and dozens of pictures over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Grovel Alert: The Milestones Luncheon

The Milestones Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb was all smiles when she revealed that the annual Junior League of Dallas Luncheon on Friday, November 17, was right on schedule for a sellout. In fact she reported that there are just a couple or three tables left to hear a conversation with Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer.

Octavia Spencer*

Linda Perryman Evans (File photo)

Another factor for the popularity of the event is that it will honor Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Perryman Evans as Sustainer of the Year.

This luncheon is one of the last mega-fundraising lunches before Thanksgiving, so round up those buds to reserve one of those last remaining spots.

* Photo credit: Randee St. Nicholas

Houston Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson Stars At Dallas Habitat For Humanity’s Inaugural Dream Builders Dinner

When 400 people turned up for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity‘s inaugural Dream Builders Dinner at Belo Mansion on Thursday, October 19, Mary Martha Pickens and her husband, John Pickens, were among them. Longtime active Habitat supporters, the Pickenses brought a whole table-full of their Bible-study pals from Highland Park United Methodist Church with them.

Philip Wise*

Which made sense, because the church’s Carpenters for Christ group was one of the evening’s award recipients. The other was Philip Wise, one of the co-founders of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and also one of the HPUMC members who helped establish Carpenters for Christ. But hey, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

The fundraising dinner, put on with the help of co-chairs Diane and Mike Gruber, Jennifer and Tom Karol, and Lynn and Allan McBee, was intended to be “an evening of inspiration for the future, and gratitude for those who have helped us reach this stage over the past 30 years.”

Tom and Jennifer Karol, Allan and Lynn McBee, Deshaun Watson and Diane and Mike Gruber*

It also turned out to be something of a farewell party for Bill Hall, Habitat’s local CEO. Hall announced surprisingly that he would be “closing out my time at Habitat” after 13 years. During his brief remarks, Hall sketched out an ambitious goal for the Dallas chapter: building 1,600 new homes by 2021—almost as many as the nonprofit has put up in total over the last three decades.

The evening’s hands-down star attraction, though, was Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. The NFL’s leading touchdown passer this season posed happily for photos during the meet-and-greet, then was interviewed onstage by broadcaster Brad Sham, who’s known as “The Voice of the Dallas Cowboys.”

Brad Sham and Deshaun Watson*

Raised in a Habitat home by a single mother who worked two jobs, Deshaun said home ownership had changed his life. It was the lifeline that pulled his family out of poverty, giving him the chance to thrive. He also described the impact his mother had on him, even as a football quarterback: “It starts with my mom. I’m observant. I can see how different people move in [different situations]. I’m a conservative guy. … Whatever happens, good or bad, you’ve got to shake it off and go on the next thing.”

Another thing his mother taught him, Deshaun told Brad, was that “it takes a long time to build a legacy. But it takes just one false step, one move, to bring it down.” By the end of the evening, few believed Deshaun would be having that problem anytime soon.

Editor’s note: Roughly two weeks after his appearance in Dallas, Deshaun reportedly suffered a season-ending knee injury during a Texans practice.

* Photo provided by Habitat for Humanity

 

JUST IN: Candice Romo And Hollie Siglin To Co-Chair Children’s Cancer Fund’s “Celebrating 30 Sweet Years” Fashion Show

News just arrived about the Children’s Cancer Fund’s annual fundraiser gala. Hold on to your football helmets! In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the fashion show will have the theme “Celebrating 30 Sweet Years.”

Candice Romo*

Hollie Siglin*

And to make a really sweet deal, the co-chairs will be Candice Romo and her longtime buddy Hollie Siglin. In addition to both being moms, the gals are also partners in Hawk and Sloane.

To add some muscle to their team, they’ve drafted Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as honorary co-chairs. Talk about star power!

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman (File photo)

The ladies have already locked down the Hyatt Regency Dallas for Friday, April 27.

This anniversary already has all the signs of being a sweetheart of a fundraiser. Sponsorships are available now!

* Photos provided by Children's Cancer Fund

Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes Was Delicious For the Viewing

Mary Hubbard, Mark Sikes and Beth Dike*

Those Kappa Kappa Gammas once again were ahead of the seasonal game by inspiring holiday entertaining with their annual Tablescapes festivities at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, October 16, and Tuesday, October 17. Even Tablescapes Luncheon keynote speaker Mark D. Sikes was taking cellphone shots at the scene at Tablescapes by Candlelight.

Thanks to 2017 Tablescapes Co-Chairs Beth Dike and Mary Hubbard, the fundraiser benefited Akola Project, Camp Summit, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Seniors Pet Assistance Network, Town North YMCA, Visiting Nurses Association/Meals on Wheels and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Dunbar Road Design

Grandeur Design

Curated by Kristin Mullen

Forget Me Not

Diamond Affairs And Bella Flora of Dallas

Amy Berry Design

Stanley Korshak

Teresa Bristol

And while the folks in attendance like Tablescapes Founding Co-Chair Louise Griffeth, Debbie Oates, Peggy Sewell and the  Ford gals (mama Kelli and daughter Kelli) were pretty darn impressive, it was still the creative table settings that were in the spotlight. For this reason, the story was the collection of tables that can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

* Photo provided by Kappa Kappa Gamma

Grovel Alert: Patriot Party’s Colors Of Courage

Patriots Party’s Colors of Courage Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon have just sent word that tickets for the dinner, dancing and auction benefiting the Housing Crisis Center on Friday, November 3, are getting scarce.

Housing Crisis Center 2017 Patriot Party*

Perhaps it’s because along with Honorary Co-Chairs Connie and Denny Carreker, Laura and Dennis have moved the fundraiser to the Bush Institute with retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli as the speaker.

And, of course, the Carrekers’ Jet Linx support has provided a real lift in spirits and funds.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect to set the mood for the upcoming Veteran’s Day on Saturday, November 11.

Before it’s too late, check out the tickets and sponsorship opportunities here!

JUST IN: Art In Bloom 2018 Plans Revealed

Despite North Texas being in fundraising overdrive for 2017, plans are already being revealed for 2018. The annual Art In Bloom (AIB) is already set at the Dallas Museum of Art for Monday, March 26, thanks to AIB Chair Dyann Skelton.

Dyann Skelton (File photo)

Barbara and Steve Durham (File photo)

She’s already got Barbara and Steve Durham on board as the honorary co-chairs and the theme — Power Of Flowers.

Michael De Feo*

In addition to a reception, seated luncheon, fashion show and live auction, Dyann has arranged for NYC-based street artist Michael De Feo to be the featured speaker. Over the past 25 years, Michael’s work has been displayed in more than 60 cities around the world. His “most recent investigations are a re-working of fashion imagery from magazine ads to bus-stop shelter advertisements by painting cascades of multi-colored petals onto the printed images.”

According to Dyann, “We are thrilled to have Michael De Feo as our featured speaker for the 2018 Art in Bloom. Perhaps best known in the street art movement for his iconic flower images around the world under the moniker, the Flower Guy, we are thrilled that he is joining us here in Dallas and will entertain us with his floral interpretations, while sharing his path to success.  As an extra treat for attendees, he will create an original work to be auctioned off at the event.”

And the timing is just perfect for guests to check out Flowers — An Exhibition that will be making an encore with a “unique display of floral arrangements created by local designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection” in the Museum’s Level 2 European galleries.

Funds from the Dallas Museum of Art League’s event will benefit the DMA’s education programs First Tuesdays and Teen Tours and the League’s Flora Endowment Fund.

It’s never too soon to sign up for sponsorships. So get the info about opportunities here.

* Photo provided by Dallas Museum of Art League

Plans Were Revealed At Times Ten Cellars For 10th Anniversary Celebration Of The Stewpot Alliance And Soup’s On In January

It was the kick off of a double doozy for The Stewpot Alliance at Times Ten Cellars on Tuesday, October 10. In addition to The Alliance preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary, it will also be the 10th anniversary of The Alliance’s fundraiser “Soup’s On Luncheon And Art Sale.”

Allison Salas Fasy, Brian Luscher and Kelly Donohue Garlock*

While Chef Brian Luscher will return to serve as “Chief Chef” for the soup-athon on Monday, January 29, the event will have a new venue — The Statler.

According to Alliance President Megan Latham Martin, there will be six honorary co-chairs. Which six?Alliance founding members Janet Evans, Dian Moore, Bonnie Maston, Debbie Raynor, Bonnie Thompson and Rusty Duvall.

2018 Co-Chairs Allison Salas Fasy and Kelly Donahue Garlock told the crowd including The Stewpot Executive Director Rev. Bruce Buchanan, Carol Adams, Antonia Hubert, Heather Sauber, 2017 Soup’s On Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis, Hunter and Lauren Foreman and Bonnie Mastin that the luncheon speakers will be Full Circle Founder/Executive Director Kristina Wandzilak and her mother Constance Curry, who will “share their heartfelt story about the struggles, dangers and disappointments of drug and alcohol abuse and a beautiful reminder that you should never lose hope…it is never too late for a happy ending.” Back in 2006, they co-authored “The Lost Years: Surviving A Mother And Daughter’s Worst Nightmare.”

Margie and Ray Francis and Hunter and Lauren Foreman*

Proceeds from the January event will benefit The Stewpot which provides services and day shelter for the homeless and provides casework services, dental, job service assistance and many other services to aid the homeless in the Dallas area. The Stewpot now serves approximately 1,700 meals a day at the “Second Chance Cafe” located at the city run homeless shelter, The Bridge, and serves 7 days a week. The Stewpot is a community outreach program of First Presbyterian Church.

* Photo credit: Rob Wythe

Insider Tips For Saturday’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball’s “Shooting For The Stars”

If there are some gals MIA today, they’re over at Gilley’s Dallas. No, they’re not line-dancing and bar leaning. They’re in T-shirts, old jeans and sneakers ripping open boxes, schlepping carts around, setting up tables and getting ready for Saturday night’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball. After all, that’s what CBB committee members do the day before the American Cancer Society mega-fundraiser.

Cindy Stager and Amy Turner

While some might think such a gaggle of females would be high drama and round-the-clock temper tantrums, they missed the mark big-time with this bunch. One gal said that everything is so organized that they just might finish earlier than planned. Why, they even had time to have lunch with some of the past CBB chairs like Mary Humphreys Parker, Cindy Stager, Amy Turner, Tia Wynne, Andrea Weber, Olivia Kearney, Kristi Hoyl and Kristin “KJ” Sanger.

Kristi Bare, Sunie Solomon, Anne Stodghill, Wendy Messmann and Karen James

When 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill were asked their secret, they attributed it to their troops like Andrea Nayfa, Nancy Gopez, Kristi Bare, Katy Bock, Wendy Messmann, Karen James, Meaghan O’Leary and others who have been working with color-coded seating charts, spreadsheets and professionalism.

Nancy Gopez. Meghan O’Leary, Andrea Nayfa and Katy Bock

They’ve even arranged for a back-up plan to accommodate Mother Nature’s mood in case she boo-hoos on the festivities. Pat Green will be on the Winston and Strawn LLP Live Auction stage in Gilley’s proper, and Brooks and Dunn will be  on the Andrews Distribution Main Stage in the humongous tent with concrete floor. Even the never-ending grazing will be indoors!

But just in case you want to be in the ultimate know, here are some insider tips to avoid those “Gee, I wished I’d known” or “Wow! I forgot all about that!” moment.

Must Have

  • More important than your cellphone will be your tickets, wristbands and hang-tags, if you’re driving. No guest will be allowed on the premises without them.
  • Also, please don’t forget your favor bag ticket. It’s not required for entrance, but you’ll hate yourself when you aren’t able to get the Hirzel Capital Favor Bag with all the swag as you leave.

Parking is a bit different this year, so be prepared. According to traffic czarina Nancy Gopez, here is the breakdown:

  • Blue hangtags — Arrive and depart in the Gilley’s driveway for valet parking.
  • Gold hangtags — Arrive at the valet parking at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Lot D. Lot opens at 5:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • White Hangtag — Self-park at Eddie Deen’s starting at 6:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • Limousines — Arrive and pick up at Event Center.
  • Uber, Lyft, Wynne Transportation and other private driving services — Drop off at Gilley’s driveway and pick up at Event Center

Hint: Sunie strongly recommended Ubering.

Auctions

Rhinestone longhorn head

  • The CBB Silent Auction and Big Board are available online. So, if you didn’t get your ticket in time or are at home with the sniffles, you can still bid and, hopefully, win a goody like the rhinestone longhorn head. Here’s the link to the online viewing and bidding.
  • Live Auction items will only be available at the Ball. However, if you’re out of town and really want one of the items, check with the CBB office now to make arrangements for proxy bidding.

FYI

  • No one under the age of 21 will be allowed to enter Gilley’s Dallas for the event.
  • No filming is allowed at the event.
  • Give the stilettos the night off and pull on those boots.

Check back with MySweetCharity during the day Saturday for any updates or news.

Texas Trailblazer Keynote Speaker Gretchen Carlson Connects The Dots Between Domestic Violence And Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Since being a little girl in Minnesota with a love of playing the violin, Gretchen Carlson has made the rounds. From being embarrassed … no, make that humiliated … when a sales clerk announced, “We need the biggest little girl bra for the chubby girl,” to taking on one of the country’s mega-media powerhouses, she’s not only rounded the track, she’s landed in the winner’s circle.

That was the feel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon crowd on Friday, October 6, at the Anatole.

But first, the backstory. Gretchen, who had landed in Dallas back in the late 1990s as a reporter and anchor at KXAS, was the keynote speaker for The Family Place‘s annual fundraising luncheon that celebrated Elizabeth Grandell and Lamisa Mustafa as the 2017 Verizon Scholarship Recipients, TexProtects as Advocacy Awardee, and Lynn McBee as Trailblazer of the Year, who received a standing ovation.

Initially the day was sort low-key with the VIP meet-and-greet in the Peacock Terrace. Unlike last year’s line around the room for the grip-and-grin with Ronan Farrow, this year started off a bit slow. One guest, who arrived 10 minutes into the by-invitation event, had a touch of a shock in his/her voice, “Where are all the people?” This answer was, they were chatting it up in the opposite side of the room.

Cindy Stager, Lynn McBee, Gretchen Carlson and KJ Sanger

But Co-Chairs Kristen “KJ” Sanger and Cindy Stager and Lynn McBee as well as Nancy Gopez were on hand as well as Jan Miller in a new haircut and a touch of tear in her eye. It seems that the legendary Miller-Rich household beagle Schumacher had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks before and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Jan Miller and Gretchen Carlson

In the meantime, the Chantilly Ballroom was being set up with an open feeling. As one person pointed out, there were generous aisles between the tables. Still, the count of 680 was down from the jam-packed TFP luncheon of 2016 with Ronan. On the screen were names of sponsors including Trammel (sic) S. Crow. That second “l” in Trammell is a tricky one.

At 11:46 a.m., a big voice announced that the program was going to start. He was a man of his word. The lights dimmed and a video was shown followed by Co-Chairs KJ and Cindy welcoming the group and Rev. Susan Robb providing the invocation.

Before Gretchen talked to the crowd including Connie O’Neill, Claire Emanuelson, Joanna Clarke, Paige Flink, Jill Tananbaum, Travis Hollman, Carol Seay, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink told of “Naomi,” who just the day before had met with her for a one-on-one. It seems that Naomi’s abusive situation had driven her to the breaking point. Her suicide note was written; she was going to take her five kids to the fire station and then she was going to a bridge from which to jump. After talking with Paige and understanding that the newly opened Ann Moody Place would provide shelter for her family, Naomi and Paige finished their chat, tearing up the suicide note.   

Paige added that had it not been for Ann Moody Place, Naomi might have become part of the statistics like the 194,000 violent acts and 158 murdered last year. That latter number was an increase over the year before. On a light noted she announced that the facility had received its first dog, Buddy, with his family. She finished her report on a positive note, saying that thanks to The Family Place, more than one-half million people had been saved thanks to the community’s support.

In addition to Paige’s celebrating her 26th anniversary with The Family Place, she had another 26-year Family Place vet, Betty Regard, join her on stage. Betty issued a $25,000 match challenge at 11:58 a.m. By 12:20 p.m., the challenge had already hauled in $15,948.

At 12:38 p.m., Gretchen arrived at the podium and showed her Stanford education smarts by telling the group of her days at KXAS back in 1998 when she did a 30-part series on domestic violence. While she admitted that a lot has changed, it hasn’t been enough.

Seamlessly, she transitioned into the eye-opening connection between domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace that she knew all too well from her 20s, when a man accosted her, to her headline-making split with the Fox News network. Both domestic violence and sexual harassment continue due to fear, embarrassment, and a lack of support, she said.

Highlights of her talk included:

  • Her mother suggested that she enter the Miss America pageant. Gretchen told her mother there was no way she would win because she was short, played a violin and “Minnesota is not a pageant state.” She entered anyway and won, despite pageant judge William Goldman’s describing her as Miss Piggy and admitting that he hated the violin.
  • After winning Miss America, she was interviewed by a reporter [Editor’s note: New York reporter Penny Crone], who quizzed her with such questions as which presidents were on the $5 and $20 bills. Ten years later, Gretchen spotted the reporter and asked if she recalled her when she was Miss America. Then Gretchen gave it to her, saying, “When I was Miss American, you tried to take me down. I just want you to know I’m a correspondent for CBS and you’re not.”
  • She was stalked for four years.
  • Her first encounter with sexual harassment was when she was in her 20s, when a TV cameraman asked her if she liked it when he put her mic on her breast.
  • 70% of women never report sexual harassment.
  • Misconceptions about sexual harassment include: women can just leave; women bring it on themselves; women make it up; women who do report it are after money or fame.
  • She has become an advocate about sexual harassment because of her children — “It’s all about the next generation.”
  • All proceeds from her book — “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” which was coming out the following week, will go her “Gift of Courage” effort.
  • She pointed out three things that were needed to end such treatment:
    • Bystander support
    • Education
    • Government legislation

In closing, Gretchen made a surprise announcement: she was giving $10,000 to The Family Place.

But Gretchen isn’t gone. Come November, she’ll return to the area as part of the across-the-nation launch of workshops to empower women.

BTW, Gretchen didn’t talk about her headline-making situation with the late Roger Ailes. But just a few days later, women in the entertainment industry started following Gretchen’s lead, according to an article by Ronan about Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual harassment. They, like Gretchen, were not going to be silenced.

Due To Bernadette Peter’s Signing Up For NYC’s “Hello, Dolly!,” Brian Stokes Mitchell And Sutton Foster Are On Their Musical Way To Save The Days

The busiest person in the entertainment business is songbird Bernadette Peter’s agent. In New York, s/he is celebrating Bernadette’s taking over Broadway in “Hello, Dolly!” in January. In North Texas, it’s another story. S/he is breaking hearts.

Seems that the signing of Bernadette for the iconic role meant she had to cancel her appearances locally. As a result, there have been a lot of calls made for replacements.

Due to rehearsals, Bernadette won’t even be able to headline the Dallas Summer Musical Gala on Saturday, November 4. Yipes! That’s less than three weeks away. But Co-Chairs Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld have signed up Tony Award-winning Brian Stokes Mitchell for the fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall with a special performance by Katharine McPhee.   

Brian Stokes Mitchell*

Sutton Foster**

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra had planned on Bernadette for their April 6-8 concerts. They’ve just announced that they arranged for another Tony Award winner to appear — singer/dancer/actress Sutton Foster.

While Bernadette’s absence is a heartbreaker for her fans, it’s the opportunity to see and hear talents that have also made their Tony mark in the Big Apple. Who knows? They just might mend those broken hearts.

* Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals 
** Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

 

Leukemia Texas’ Concert For A Cure At The Rustic Features Reckless Kelly—And Great Results For Fighting Leukemia

As more than 400 people streamed into The Rustic’s outdoor patio Thursday, September 28, for Leukemia Texas‘ fifth annual Concert for a Cure, the group’s CEO, Mandy O’Neill, sat in a “cabana” at the back of the property reviewing notes with the chairs before taking off to supervise the festivities.

Below her, guests like JB Hayes, Natalie Solis, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Roger Hendren, and Amanda and Lloyd Ward were catching up with friends and eagerly awaiting the appearance of the evening’s headliner, Reckless Kelly. Mandy, meantime, was expressing her hope that the evening’s take would at least match last year’s total of $125,000.

Jenny Anchondo, Marco Rivera, Stephanie Hollman and Mandy O’Neill*

The aim seemed do-able, if the crowd’s enthusiasm was any indication. Up on the raised stage, Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast from AMP 103.7-FM—followed by event Co-Chairs Jenny Anchondo and Stephanie Hollman—spent time revving up the partygoers. Jenny sits on the Leukemia Texas board, the audience was told, while Stephanie successfully underwent a bone-marrow donation in May in Oklahoma City.

Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast**

After introducing “Natalie,” a young woman who was having various medical problems, the chairs brought out  former NFL guard Marco Rivera, who played two years (in 2005 and ’06) with the Dallas Cowboys. Marco asked the crowd to bid on tickets to the ‘Boys’ upcoming game with the Green Bay Packers, saying, “I promise you, the Dallas Cowboys will not kneel!” After Marco started the bidding at $500, the ducats went for $1,100.

Natatlie’s mother Vivian, Natalie and Marco Rivera**

Then it was time for Reckless Kelly, the much-lauded, Austin-based Americana band. The group played generously for more than an hour, sprinkling their hits with a few cover songs by Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”) and Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”). As they did, a few “swing” dancers showed off their fancy steps down in front of the stage.

Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun**

They weren’t the only ones strutting their stuff. When all was said and done, Mandy reported that “it looks like we will be exceeding our event goal.” After accounting for expenses—they were roughly 8 percent of the total take—Concert for a Cure was on track to net $110,000.       

* Photo provided by Mandy O'Neill 
** Photo credit: Brian Maschino

Sold-Out Alert!: Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes 2017

Mary Hubbard, Lori Martin and Beth Dike (File photo)

A couple of MySweetCharity favorite words were just reported — Sold out! And they were just reported by Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes 2017 Co-Chair Mary Hubbard. The Tuesday, October 17th luncheon and talk at the Dallas County Club by the incredible Mark D. Sikes is at total capacity.

However, Mary has good news for anyone who is sick and tired of Monday night TV watching that, “We don’t really have a max attendance for [Tablescapes by] Candlelight, our evening event on Monday…at least not yet! We have sold far more tickets for that than in recent years…”

In other words, if you want to graze- and gaze-around the killer tables decorated by professionals and very-talented-should-bes, get your ticket for Monday night’s festivities here!

BTW, this year’s fundraiser benefits Akola Project, Camp Summit, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Seniors Pet Assistance Network, Town North YMCA, Visiting Nurses Association/Meals on Wheels and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Word has it that another cold front will be in town Monday, so it will be ideal weather to inspire planning for holiday entertaining.

Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary Luncheon Celebrated The Lives Saved Thanks To A Deathbed Promise

In 1977 33-year-old Suzy Goodman Komen learned she had breast cancer. At that time those two words were verboten in polite company. Too often patients diagnosed with the disease shared the news, their fears and their struggle with the immediate family and perhaps extremely close friends. It was almost treated like a scandal. Susie undertook the treatments with her kid sister Nancy Goodman Leitstein (Brinker) at her side. But due to lack of funding, research and treatments, Susie died at the age of 36 in 1980.

As she lay dying, 34-year-old Nancy, who was divorced and the mother of a son, made a promise that changed her life and those of millions of others. She told Suzy that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. War was declared.

From that promise sprang the annual Race for the Cure and a Komen luncheon that for years required boxes of tissues as breast cancer patients shared their journeys. Eventually, the effort to grow funds and awareness spread throughout the world. What didn’t survive was the luncheon. For whatever reason, it ended.  

Mary Lessmann, Gigi Hill Lancaster and Meredith Land

However, on Wednesday, September 27, the Komen Foundation of Dallas celebrated its 35th anniversary with a luncheon fundraiser at Belo Mansion. Chairing Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary Luncheon was Gigi Hill Lancaster, who had lost her mother, the vibrant Gigi Griffiths Hill, to breast cancer at the age of 39 in 1984 when Lancaster was just 14.

Elizabeth Robertson, Jim and Alinda Wikert and Sharon McCutchin

Jill Smith, Lindalyn Adams and Randi Halsell

At 11:30 the VIP reception was already in full gear with Honorary Co-Chairs Linda Custard and Ruth Altshuler (Co-Chair Gene Jones had to be out of town), luncheon emcee Meredith Land, Diane Brierley, Nancy Halbreich, Janie McGarr and keynote speaker/breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic. In the ballroom were Komen past luncheon chair Randi Halsell, Lindalyn Adams and original chair Sharon McCutchins, Jill Smith, Elizabeth Robertson, Alinda and Jim Wikert and Brill Garrett. Komen Dallas Board President Connie O’Neill with two of her three daughters (Amanda Cacheris and Isabel O’Neill) was thrilled that so many young women were attending.

Connie O’Neill, Giuliana Rancic, Amanda Cacheris and Isabel O’Neill

Promptly at noon the luncheon crowd including Sara Martineau, Carol Huckin, Katy Bock, Cara French, Daffan Nettle and Vicki Howland took their places and from the podium Gigi thanked the honorary chairs, Alinda Wikert and her underwriting chair Rebecca Fletcher for having brought in $555,000. Gigi told how she was wearing waterproof mascara. Her mother had wished that she had worn waterproof mascara when she addressed the Komen luncheon just weeks before her death.

Gigi turned the podium over to St. Michael’s and All Angel’s/breast cancer survivor Rev. Mary Lessmann for the invocation.

Carlos Arteaga

Following a video, Connie was at the podium reporting that one billion dollars had been provided by Komen for research and two billion dollars dedicated for treatment for women in 30 countries. Their goal was to reduce breast cancer 50% by 2060.

She then introduced newly arrived in Dallas Dr. Carlos Arteaga, who had only recently relocated from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to head up the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

It was then time for Giuliana to tell her story in 25 minutes, but she immediately admitted that it was going to be tough to do it. Born in Italy at the age of six, she only spoke Italian. So, how did she learn English? She would watch TV, especially the evening news. Her initial plans to be a TV journalist changed to concentrating on fashion and entertainment, which led to her moving to LA.

Giuliana Rancic

There she ended up with her dream job of being a reporter for E News. While there she heard the assignments editor mentioning the name “Bill Rancic,” who had just won the first “The Apprentice.” She asked for the interview and got it only to google Bill Rancic romance, where it said that he was dating someone. When she got to the interview, she impressed Bill by looking “bored and distant.” Needless to say, she had lost interest in him but carried on with the interview. Her final question was, “Are you going to settle down?” He responded, “Actually we broke up three weeks ago.”

According to Bill, an “immaculate transformation took place.” Eight months later they were engaged with a wedding taking place six months after that.”

The couple was approached about their doing a reality show. They agreed only if it could be positive. During this time they tried to conceive, and eventually sought help from fertility experts. But they miscarried and tried again with no luck. Giuliana was sad, angry and depressed — “Why did this happen?”

They sought help from another fertility specialist. In filling out the questionnaire, the last quest on the check list was “Have you had a mammogram?” Giuliana hadn’t and wanted to skip it. After all, she’d had no family history; she was in her 30s; she was in great health. But the nurse insisted, so she agreed.

Then she got a call to come to the clinic. As she waited to learn the results, she got an eerie feeling and ran to the elevator. The nurse came after her and brought her back. The doctor said that she did have breast cancer. Her reaction? “Your life just changes. I felt like I was falling.”

She shared her story on the show to help other young women to get a mammogram. Initially she thought the lumpectomy would be the answer. It didn’t work. She and Bill talked about it. Her concern was that a mastectomy would make her unattractive. Bill’s response: “I don’t care what you look like. I just want you around for the next 50 years.”

Those words made her mind up to go through with the mastectomy. In the meantime, the couple decided to check into having a gestational carrier. She admitted that after the months of disappointment and cancer, she needed some good news. That came two weeks after her surgery in December when they found out that the carrier was pregnant. On August 29, Edward Duke Rancic was born.

Within one year, Giuliana had had the worst day of her life and the most amazing.  She also realized that had she gotten pregnant, she probably wouldn’t be here.

Since then she has made fertility and breast cancer her rallying points.

Then Giuliana recalled a year ago meeting Klarissa, who in her 20s was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Giuliana had just gotten an update that Klarissa was fighting for her life. Giuliana started to read a post from Klarissa’s Instagram the day before, but couldn’t go on. She asked Gigi to come to the podium and read: “…. I can’t help but wonder what memories I will leave behind.”

Giuliana summed up her talk saying, “You don’t have to travel 2,000 miles to climb a mountain to find your purpose. Your purpose is right here in this room.”

Just past 1 p.m., the luncheon was over. The next day Julia Louis-Dreyfuss announced, “One in eight women get breast cancer; today I’m the one.” But thanks to a sister’s promise made in 1980, Giuliana, Julia and millions of others will have their lives saved.