Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Canine Companions For Independence Graduation

Canine Companions for Independence South Central Training Center

Unlike many May graduates who have diplomas but are in need of jobs, the Canine Companions for Independence graduates left the stage for a lifelong career with their human partners on Friday, May 5. Also as part of the ceremony at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving were the puppies that have been raised by volunteers for nearly two years. They were turned over by their puppy raisers to CCI trainers to see if they, too, would make the grade.

As the class spokesperson said, “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one.” Needless to say, there was plenty of Kleenex put to use for the standing-room-only crowd.

Lauren and her mother

As the post is being completed, check out the pooches and people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Celebrate Old Glory At Flag Pole Hill Park Wednesday Evening

Wednesday is Flag Day. It’s not a holiday. The banks will be open. Courts will be in session. The mail will be delivered. It’s really not a big deal. That is, unless you’ve ever suffered traumatic loss representing the flag. Then it’s a really big personal deal.

Old Glories

So, if you’re already in the stage of summer doldrums or would just like to be part of a patriotic gathering of red, white and blue, head over to Flag Pole Hill Park from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for Flag Day Ceremony 2017.

In addition to firetrucks, police squad cars, a Carry The Load Tent, a lemonade stand and cookies, there will be a program including speakers, the national anthem, a flag ceremony and other festivities.

Sponsored by White Rock Lake Foundation, Safer Dallas, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Carry The Load, Northeast Police Division, Council Member Adam McGough, White Rock Partnership, Boy Scouts of America and City of Dallas Parks and Recreation, the event is free and all are invited.

However, by making a minimal donation of $5, you’ll honor your police, fire/rescue or military hero by having a small American flag placed along the road at Flag Pole Hill.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Co-Chair Anne Besser Offers Some Helpful Hints For This Weekend’s Fundraising Festivities

Anne Besser (File photo)

Just as Heloise provides household hints, so La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Co-Chair Anne Besser has a suggestion or two for this weekend’s La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas comings and goings.

Since the Friday night event is taking place in a very cool residential area and Saturday’s gala is at The Fairmont, Anne is recommending the following:

  • Uber/Lyft
  • Have a friend drop you and your buds off
  • Use the buddy system and carpool
  • Despite a slight chance of Friday night having a touch of drizzle, don’t worry. The home is big enough to handle the guests inside.
  • Saturday night, park at the Baptist Church multi-level parking lot
  • Saturday night, get yourself a room at The Fairmont and slumber-party it. Think room service for Sunday morning breakfast. No, make that late morning brunch.

This annual summer fundraiser is showy, fun and family-oriented.

Attention, Campers: Ark-Building Activities Are Underway In North Texas

Why did Thursday seem like a dress rehearsal for this afternoon’s tsunami? According to WFAA weather guy Pete Delkus, North Texas is out of the drought condition that was in place on May 31. He also said that his normal 20-minute drive to work took about an hour and half.

Another hit-and-run victim of the thunder, lightning and waves of wet stuff was Fair Park Sparks! The official word was, “Flooding and power outages have now prompted cancellation of Fair Park Sparks. We’re sorry!”

Fair Park Sparks!*

Not to worry. When the rains are dismissed by the solar heat, there will be plenty of activities over at Fair Park.

In the meantime, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League didn’t let the damp stuff prevent the reveal of the 2018 debs from taking place over at Stanley Korshak.

An unofficial statement from Mother Nature was just received: “You complained about a drought. I gave you rain. Now, you’re griping about the rain. Gee, are you people ever happy?”

This weekend the accessories du jour will be Better Brellas and water wings.

* Graphic courtesy of Friends of Fair Park

Dr. Marilyn Albert Reported The Developments In The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s At The Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts all ages. From the more susceptible older members of the community to the millennials, who see and care for family members in various stages of Alzheimer’s, it has been a multi-generational rallying point. For that reason it was no surprise to see all ages present for the 4th Annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Marilyn Albert discussing the issue. Among those present at the Center for Vital Longevity lecture at Communities Foundation of Texas were 2016 BvB President Rachel Anderson and her teammates. Here is a report from the field:

Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell*

 

Determining who is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease well before symptoms appear is a major challenge faced by researchers and clinicians seeking to treat this form of dementia, said Dr. Marilyn Albert, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, who was speaking at the Center for Vital Longevity’s 4th annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture.

Currently, there is no effective way to halt the disease process in Alzheimer’s. And by the time symptoms of the disease appear, it’s too late. “We don’t currently have effective drugs that can either stop or slow down the disease’s progression,” she said during a public gathering at the Communities Foundation of Texas, which hosted the lecture on Thursday, April 27.

Dr. Albert emphasized what many in the field now strongly believe: for a treatment or prevention to be effective, early diagnosis is key. A challenge has been in accurately diagnosing the disease, and distinguishing it from other age-related brain diseases and conditions that can affect memory and behavior.

Thankfully, diagnostic tools for detecting Alzheimer’s have advanced a long way, she said, from the days of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist credited with identifying the first case in the early 1900s. With advances in imaging, such as PET scanning to identify potentially harmful plaque deposits, and improvements in cognitive and genetic testing, characteristic signs of disease can potentially be detected earlier.

Finding even more accurate or sensitive biological markers that determine risk perhaps decades before onset could have profound impacts on public health down the road, she said. In the meantime, adopting lifestyle changes that improve cardiovascular health (which is closely connected to brain health) might help, along with staying mentally and socially engaged.

Doug and Cassie Crosby*

Earlier in the evening, Dr. Albert met with members of the Director’s Research Circle, in a reception attended by UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and members of the CVL advisory council.

Guests included Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell, with BvB (formerly Blondes vs. Brunettes), an organization raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and awareness, as well as CVL supporters Dr. Doug and Cassie Crosby, past AWARE president.

The next Jean and Bill Booziotis Lecture is slated for April 2018. For more information on how to join CVL’s Director’s Research Circle, please visit: http://vitallongevity.utdallas.edu/support/.

* Photo credit: John Michael Bruno

Sold-Out Alert!: La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Gala

La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas (File photo)

It’s still three weeks away, but the La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Presentation Gala on Saturday, June 10, is already sold out!

According to La Fiesta Gala Co-Chair Anne Besser, “The La Fiesta Gala is sold out and we have a wait list.  We are at the Fairmont and our seating is limited.

“Several underwriters have generously returned their Gala seats in exchange for additional Fiesta Under the Stars invitations. Thanks to them, we are moving patrons off the wait list and into Gala seats.”

So, who says that North Texas is abandoned in the summer and tuxedos hibernate in closets? There is gonna be a ballroom filled to the brim with the black-tie set on June 10. So, don’t dilly-dally around. Get on that wait list now.

Proceeds from the swell-elegant event will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Center, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency Fund, HPHS Youth and Government/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Sold-Out Alert: No More Room For Dec My Room’s Room To Grow Luncheon And Fashion Show

Dec My Room’s “Room To Grow”*

And the announcements keep pouring in. The first ever Dec My Room’s Room To Grow luncheon and fashion show at NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus on Tuesday is sold out. Co-chaired by Sue Fair, Diana Hamilton and Andrea Nayfa along with NorthPark’s Kristen Gibbins, the event will featured a presentation by NorthPark Ambassadors Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Moll Anderson on Neiman Marcus’ Level Two.      

Dec My Room was established ten years ago and “helps to create a healing place” for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time. 

* Graphic provided by Dec My Room

Chi Omegas Gave More Than A Hoot To Area Nonprofits and Scholarship Funds

Just as the Crystal Charity Ball gals were doling out the dough a couple of weeks ago for its beneficiaries, so the Chi Omega Alumnae were recently handy with checks. The funds came from their 2016 Chi Omega Christmas Market that was held last fall at Fair Park.

2016 Market Co-Chairs Amy McAleavey and Mandy Escobedo admitted that their goal of providing $258,000 for the 2016 beneficiaries was a daunting one. But evidently it wasn’t as challenging as they thought, as they provided $320,000 to the following beneficiaries:

Mandy Escobedo and Amy McAleavey*

  • ChildCareGroup,
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support,
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas®,
  • New Friends New Life,
  • Promise House,
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas,
  • Trinity River Mission,
  • VMLC (Vickery Meadow Learning Center) and
  • the Chi Omega Alumnae of Dallas Chi O Christmas Market Endowed Scholarship fund and collegiate scholarships.

According to Amy, “The total amount raised at the 2016 Market is a 24% increase from our set goal and allows us to fully fund our wonderful beneficiaries.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s Market with Alex Bjornnes serving as chair. The 2017 event will be the 40th anniversary of the Market and will return to Centennial Hall in Fair Park from Wednesday, November 15 thru Saturday, November 18.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

Lisa Loeb To Emcee Wednesday’s Texas State Historical Marker For Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s At Aldredge House

Some might think that Wednesday’s dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker for the 100th anniversary of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation at the 100-year-old Aldredge House will be skewed to the geriatric set. Rethink that! Sure, the House and Alliance are both celebrating a double centennial, but it’s not going to be a gloves-and-support-hose affair.

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation Historical Marker*

Lisa Loeb*

Of course, proof is required and here it is — singer/songwriter/TV personality Lisa Loeb. Despite this Hockaday grad’s being on tour, she’s returning to her Dallas to serve as emcee for the event.

So, what’s the connection between Grammy Award-winner Lisa and the double centennial celebration and dedication? Before she became nationally known for her talents, Lisa was and still is the daughter of Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Past President Gail Loeb and has a slew of family members in healthcare.

In addition to her emcee duties, there’s a report that she will do some singing and, at the end of the ceremony, lead a “children’s sing-along of songs from her children’s album.”

Translation: Kids are welcome to be part of the festivities that start at 5 p.m. at The Aldredge House. Perfect timing! Pick up the munchkins from school and drive on over to Swiss Avenue to be part of a Double Centennial Celebration with elected officials and the unveiling of the Texas Historical Marker. Don’t forget your cellphones… as if you would… for photos with Lisa and the Marker.

* Photos provided by the Dallas County Medical Alliance Society Foundation

JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests’ finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy. Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical. What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group. Best Group of Hats. Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish. Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Baylor Health Care System Foundation YPO Gold Supper

John Harkey, Peni Barfield and Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive

The Baylor Health Care System Foundation hosted a dinner for Dallas’ YPO Gold members and their spouses. But what was served up was more than just a tasty meal on Thursday, March 2, at the Charles Sammons Center. The genetic makeup of the guests was the main course provided by experts in the field of medicine and ethics.

Myrna Schlegel

Craig Hall

As the post is being prepared, get a look at some of the gold-standard types of YPO at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Northwood Woman’s Club’s Dine By Design

Those Northwood Woman’s Club gals once again filled Bent Tree Country Club with dozens and dozens of decked-out table settings for its annual Dine By Design on Tuesday, February 28. This year’s theme of “Waltz Across Texas” was true food for thought with tables ranging from spring whimsical to another just chugging along.

Spring Waltz

Trains Across Texas

While the post is being prepared, check out the tables at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Celebrity Chef Nancy Silverton Brought “Zest” To Sold-Out Lunch Fundraiser For VNA Programs

Nancy Silverton

There’s just something about the creation of a meal that is both soothing and magical. At the Haggerty Kitchen Center on Mockingbird, it came together for the Celebrity Chef Luncheon Tuesday, February 28. As Los Angeles-based James Beard Foundation 2014 Outstanding Chef Awardee Nancy Silverton prepared for a demonstration, the sold-out crowd including Honorary Chair Sara Fraser CrismonPaula Lambert, Rena Pederson, Caren Prothro, Mary Martha Pickens, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Anne Leary, Cathy Buckner and Lucian LaBarba with Christina LaBarba gathered. Paige McDaniel proclaimed, “This is one of my favorite events.”

Sara Fraser Crismon

Howard and Fanchon Hallam

Lucian LaBarba, Jennifer Atwood and Christina LaBarba

But before things got started and folks checked out the silent auction items, Empire Baking Company’s Meaders Ozarow recalled her childhood with her creative mother. The twosome would drive in from Abilene and visit NorthPark Center with its Magic Pan, Carriage Shop and Neiman’s. It was her mother’s creative spirit that both baffled Meadows and planted the seeds for her own talents.

Janet Ryan

But all too soon, the program was underway with VNA Board Chair Janet Ryan revealing that it was also President/CEO Katherine Krause’s birthday. Instead of blowing out candles on a cake, Katherine focused on the importance of the fundraiser that would provide funding for the Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

Katherine Krause

Katherine told of heart-wrenching numbers and stories about the people served by VNA’s Meals on Wheels program. For instance, 65% of the 4,600 home-bound and in need of the service are women. Of that number, 14 are more than 100 years old. The oldest is 105. Katherine shared the story about hospice-client Priscilla Hartman, who had just recently died at the age of 107. She had started using Meals on Wheels in her 90s. While others her age had found a comfy couch to retire to, she had discovered a new life literally by volunteering at Parkland holding newborn babies until her retirement at the age of 92.

Speaking of hospice, Katherine reminded the guests that Medicare covers hospice care for those over 65 years of age. On the other hand, VNA’s Hospice Care is able to step up and help those under 65 in need of hospice care.

VNA kettle

Chris Culak and Paige McDaniels

Next up was VNA Director of Development Chris Culak, who reported that each year VNA has to spend about $300,000 to replace the kitchen equipment that provides 6,000 meals daily. He then directed the attention to a kettle displayed on the terrace that was the size of a small car. It carried with it a price tag of a SUV — $40,000. But it alone can produce 1,800 meals. Chris then made the request that people donate to the Kitchen Fund to help replace the equipment.

But the day’s program wasn’t to focus on the deeds achieved daily by VNA. Its focus was Nancy, who had also been heavily involved with Meals on Wheels in LA.

Kale salad with zest grater

Despite having more experience and credentials than could be put into that kettle, Nancy walked the room through the creation of her Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pine Nuts and Anchovies. She emphasized the fact that despite 21st century techie tools found in many kitchens, she still prefers some old favorites like her zest grater. She also stressed the importance of fresh ingredients. Despite the initial eye shifting by some members of the audience at the thought of kale and anchovies being tasty, they changed their tunes when a parade of servers presented plates with the salad to kick off their family-style meal made up of recipes (Flattened Chicken Thigh with Charred Lemon Salsa Verde; Pasta Salad with Bitter Greens, Parmigiano Cream and Guanciale; Oily Galicky Spinach; Glazed Onions Agrodolce; Bean Salad with Celery Leaf Pesto; Marinated Lentils; Slow-roasted Roma Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme; Marinated Roasted Sweet Peppers; and Four-layer Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart) from Nancy’s recently published cookbook, “Mozza At Home.” Organizers were so smart. In listing the various items on the menu, they also included the page on which the recipe could be found.

One guest later admitted that she went home and tried the recipe, only to discover that it was just as good as what had been served at the luncheon.

In between stages of preparation, Nancy provided anecdotes like the fact that the VNA’s purchase of 400 copies of her new cookbook “Mozza At Home” as favors had turned out to be a record-breaker for her. The book was the result of Nancy’s realizing that after rising up the food chain and running six restaurants in the U.S. and Singapore, she had gotten sidetracked from her original love of cooking for friends. During a restful trip to Italy, she started rediscovering the joy of food, friends and fresh ingredients. She also realized that other hosts/hostesses found themselves in similar situations. So, she put together 19 menus with easy-to-follow recipes that could be prepared in advance and interchanged.

But her work wasn’t done. Later she would do another demonstration for the sold-out Celebrity Chef Dinner.

For more pictures from the food-fest fundraiser, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Retired Attorney Suzan Fenner And Northwood Woman’s Club To Receive Our Friends Place’s 13th Annual Ebby Award At April Gala

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

The late Ebby Halliday Acers would have been 106 years old this month. Despite the loss of the first lady of residential real estate a year-and-a-half ago, her memory and inspiration continue. Timed in sync with Ebby’s natal day is the announcement of the Annual Ebby Award that is presented by Our Friends Place for those contributing to the advancement of girls and/or women.

Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine revealed the 13th Annual Ebby Awardees will be retired partner of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club.

According to Sue, “Both award winners are truly passionate about serving our community and engage with a number of nonprofits, providing leadership and resources that contribute to the advancement of girls and women in North Texas. Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club have made Dallas a better place.”

Past recipients include Ebby, Sarah Losinger, Barbara S. Cambridge, the National Council of Jewish Women of Greater Dallas and Leigh Richter.

The presentation of the award to Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club will be made at the 14th Annual Our Friends Place Gala Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Joining Event Co-Chairs Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons will be Honorary Co-Chairs LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson.

The full release of the announcement follows the jump.

[Read more…]

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: VNA’s 2017 Celebrity Chef Luncheon

Nancy Silverton

Each day VNA turns out thousands of meals for those in need through its Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

But on Tuesday, February 28, the Haggerty Kitchen Center added a couple of additional feedings — VNA Celebrity Chef Lunch and VNA Celebrity Dinner — to provide $400,000 to support its programs.

Both events were sold out thanks to longtime supporters and food-lovers, and author/award-winning Chef Nancy Silverton demonstrating how to make a kale salad complete with anchovies yummy.

Kale salad with zest grater

While the post on the lunch is being cooked up, pictures are available over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The 2017 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Swans Flawlessly And Touchingly Bowed At The Meyerson

Oh, those Californians! Each year they have those itty-bitty Cliff Swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19th. As remarkable as that may seem to the West Coasters, the arrival of the swans to the Meyerson is truly memory-making each year.

On Saturday, February 18, 35 glorious white swans (aka Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation debutantes) provided perfectly executed deep bows in support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

And thanks to blonde DSOL President Sandy Secor, red-haired Ball Chair Jolie Humphrey and her committee (Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Ginger Sager, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk) these swans had credentials that would have sent the California birds into a spiral diver. But more deb name dropping later.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Before the presentation in the McDermott Concert Hall, photographer James French mounted a sky-high ladder to memorialize the debs and the Honor Guard escorts on the steps leading to the concert hall. “Is that everybody? Who’s missing? 35? I need the Honor Guards,” shouted James, as assistants counted heads and straightened hems. Various setups were needed: first, the debs, then the debs with Honor Guard escorts and then one with Jolie in the center. After the final group shot was taken, the debs and escorts joined their families for cellphone photos.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

Downstairs, the cocktail reception was underway in the lower reception area. While black- and white-tie seemed the majority rule, red was also highlighting the area, thanks to Sara Lee Gardner, Wendy Kumpf, Elizabeth Magee, Catherine Lane, Libby Bender and Rachel Faust.

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

Ashley McGaw, Brindley Mize, Rachael Levy, Sarah Ransan, Arlin Dawson, Peyton Dean, Caroline LeCrone and Carling Crawford

and gal pal friends of the other debs held their own in an array of colors and necklines.

And speaking of those tricky décolletages, some of the ingénues in bare-shouldered gowns were seen having to hitch up downward-bound tops. While the usual glittery purses and stilettos accessorized the looks of the evening, one or two gals downgraded their aura by chomping on gum.

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

And if anyone was expecting drama, they were sorely disappointed. For instance, deb Gracie Beal’s folks, who had been divorced for ages, were front and center with their significant others — mama Simona Beal with Ryan Green and papa Andy Beal with his fiancée Olya Sinitsyna, who revealed that their baby boy was due on May 18… Terry Bentley Hill was on hand to support her god-daughter Abby Loncar and her mom Sue Loncar… One Honor Guard parent was Brad Cheves, who was attending his first DSOL Presentation Ball for his son, Kyle Cheves… Also attending their first DSOL Presentation Ball were Gina and Ken Betts for deb Molly NelsonMarsha Cameron and her husband Michael Halloran were returning for the presentation ball for their son Bryce Halloran, who would be escorting deb Marina Frattaroli. It was just two years ago that their daughter Alix Halloran was a deb… Among the grandparents in the crowd were William Richardson for deb Heather Hall, Gene and Jerry Jones for deb Caroline Jones and Honor Guard escort Shy Anderson Jr. and Barbara and John Stuart for grandson John Macatee… At least two sets of parents were providing both debs and escorts. In addition to daughter Catherine Kumpf making her debut, Wendy and Rick Kumpf’s son Henry Kumpf was a member of the Honor Guard… And then there were Ana and Jim Yoder. Not only was daughter Maria Yoder bowing, but her escorts were her brothers/Honor Guard members James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder.   

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

Kersten Rettig, whose daughter McKenna Cook was one of the debs, admitted, “I’m a little teary, in a good way. I never thought McKenna would do it. Jolie asked me a year ago if McKenna wanted to be a deb. But, the parents and girls have really connected! This is Dallas. This is tradition. This is for the arts. The pageant is 100 times better than I thought it would be!”  

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

On cue, the Meyerson chimes called the guests to their seats in the concert hall. Before the first deb stepped on stage, introductions of those who had made the event possible were made including Sandy, Jolie, her committee and the Assembly and the Honor Guard officers. Then emcee Stan Gardner asked the audience to show proper respect for the occasion. In other words, this wasn’t a dang pep rally.

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

With families seated near the stage and friends filling the rest of the floor, the Orchestra Tier and Loge, the presentation got underway. Upon her name being announced and her selected song being played, each deb appeared at the head of the stairs and was joined by her father or male family member. The couple then walked down the steps to center stage, where the gentleman kissed the deb on the cheek and took his place to her right. Then the deb made her formal bow, as her escort(s) stood to her left. On cue as she lifted her head looking at the escort(s), the lead escort walked over and offered his hand to help her rise. After a photo or two was taken by French’s team, the couple/trio walked to the stairs leading from the stage to the floor for a couple of more photos.

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

Perhaps the memory maker of the night was the presentation of Abby Loncar on the arm of her brother Patrick Long. Despite the Loncar family’s recent losses, it was obvious from the response of the entire audience that the community was truly rallying around Abby.

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

After the final deb Maria Yoder and her brothers/escorts (James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder) left the stage, the entire stage was filled with the 2017 debutantes and their Honor Guard escorts, to a standing ovation.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Stan then asked the guests to stay in place as Don Averitt and Mark Averitt directed the deb mothers, who had been seated on the aisles, to the lobby’s dance floor. The fathers, who had been seated in rows along the Orchestra Terrace, also departed to join their wives.

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

As anxious parents waited for their daughters to arrive at the dance floor, the rest of the guests filled the overhead balcony and lobby to see the first dances. Thanks to coordinators who served as traffic cops, a walkway through the crowd was created to allow the escorts to bring the debs to the floor.

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

Once there, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their smiling parents. The debs looked so very relieved to have the bow over with, and the fathers looked a bit apprehensive about the next part of the evening — the first dance of the night. But the dads and debs had nothing to fear. Despite the crowded dance floor with the white billowing gowns, it was rather dreamy. Then the conditions got even more jammed with the escorts and mothers joining the debs and dads for a Glenn Miller tune, thanks to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.  

Dancing debs and dads

While some continued to fill the dance floor, others headed to their tables for a salad (medley of baby greens, purple beets, goat cheese, walnuts and herbal vinaigrette dressing), entrée (grilled herb crusted beef filet with sherry reduction sauce, seasoned-roasted potatoes, tri-color carrots and steamed asparagus) and dessert (raspberry mousse tart and white and dark chocolate tower Swiss roll).

For more photos of bowing, dancing and beautiful peeps, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball blends youth with tradition for the benefit of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, February 18, 35 young women in white ball gowns made their debuts to the approval of their families and the cheers of their friends at the Meyerson.

Stephen Jones and Caroline Jones

Of course, it helped to have loads of Honor Guard chaps in white tie and tails to escort them from the stage and on to the dance floor in the lobby.

Dancing debs and dads

While the post is being prepared, check out the 60+ pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.  

Laura W. Bush Institute Provided A Look At The Amazing Universe Of Stem Cells Thanks To Doris Taylor And Jay Schneider

Laura Bush and Lee Ann White

Lee Ann White had had a busy 24 hours. On Tuesday, February 14, (aka Valentine’s Day), she had orchestrated a sweetie of a celebration at the Ritz-Carlton with the Hamilton Park Choir and 50 besties. Alas, Annette Simmons and husband Jerry Fronterhouse and birthday girl Gene Jones had to send regrets. Couldn’t blame them. Annette and Jerry were out of town celebrating their first anniversary and Gene was over the pond to check out her new floating getaway.

But in attendance were Lana and Barry Andrews, Toni and T. Boone Pickens and the usual multi-gillionaires plus Laura and George Bush.

Jan Rees-Jones and Lisa Troutt

Debbie Francis

Jeanne Cox

But early the next morning on Wednesday, February 15, Lee Ann, Lana, Jan Rees-Jones, Jeanne Cox and Debbie Francis were looking fresh-faced for the Laura W. Bush Institute gathering at the Dallas Country Club.  

Su-Su Meyer, Gayle Stoffel, Lana Andrew and Meredith Land

Kara Goss and Rhonda Marcus

Kimber Hartmann and Angie Kadesky

Monet and George Ball and Tiffany Divis

After the breakfast coffee that included a crash of china coffee cups from the buffet to the tile floor, the group (Tiffany Divis with daughter Monet Ball and husband Dr. George Ball, Libby Allred, Pam Busbee, Ola Fojtasek, Michael Fowler, Kimber Hartmann, Debbie Francis, Lisa Ogle, Joanne Stroud, Kara Goss, Su-Su Meyer, Al Hill Jr., Angie Kadesky, Rhonda Marcus, Diane Howard, Jane Pierce and Lisa Troutt) gathered in the ballroom for “Stem Cells: Building Blocks For Human Organs And Tools For Therapeutic Discovery” by Dr. Jay Schneider and Doris Taylor, Ph.D., introduced by emcee KXAS’s Meredith Land.

Diane Howard and Marjorie Jenkins

Al Hill Jr.

Connie Tyne, Jay Schneider and Doris Taylor

Over to the side of the ballroom stood Laura Bush with Lee Ann, the speakers and Institute hierarchy. While this presentation was Lee Ann’s swan song as president of the Laura W. Bush Institute, Institute Executive Director Connie Tyne and Institute Chief Science Officer Marjorie Jenkins kept things popping.

After Lee Ann introduced Laura, the former first lady updated the group on the Bush family — former first Lady Barbara and President George H.W. Bush both got well in time to flip the coin for the Super Bowl, and Laura’s husband former President George W. Bush has been working on portraits and a book on wounded warriors (“Buy his book because he’s living on a government pension.” Actually, proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior project).

She then discussed the various programs and developments that the Institute will be hosting in the coming months.

It was now time for the two experts to discuss the day’s topic. First up was Doris Taylor on how the body heals itself with its own stem cells. Admitting that she saw the world through stem-cell glass, she saw aging and most chronic diseases as a failure of stem cells.

Her first two points of the day were:

  • Heart disease kills more women than men. Most clinical trials on restorative therapy for heart disease are done on men. Despite more equivalent trials being undertaken involving men and women, the chances are that a woman will still receive treatments designed for a man.
  • Sex is not the same as gender. While the rule of thumb is that at the first sign of a heart attack, it is essential to get to a hospital within four hours. Men usually get there within the four-hour window. Why? Because their wives drive them there. Women, on the other hand. don’t get there within that time period but not because of biologic or sex differences. Rather because of gender-based differences. A woman will delay getting help for various reasons like “The house is dirty,” “The kids are coming home from school,” I don’t want an ambulance guy to come in here when the house is dirty,” etc.  Due to the excuses, a woman doesn’t make it to the hospital in time. It is societal gender difference, not biological. 

Doris then addressed the future of stem cells in aging. Using a simple example, she told how when a young child falls and scrapes their knee, it’s not like they are going to be scarred for life. However, an adult may not be so lucky. That is because of the stem cells that take care of the normal wear and tear of the body aren’t as available as a person ages. 

She explained how inflammation is nature’s signaling that there has been an injury, and stem cells are needed to repair. If you get the right cells there, you can eliminate the inflammation.

Doris then said that she really wanted the audience to take away two points from her talk:

  1. Inflammation for a short time is a good thing, because it tells the body that stem cells are need and those stem cells get mobilized
  2. But chronic inflammation when you don’t get stem cells is a bad thing.

The problem with aging is that we lose stem cells and their capacity to handle the inflammation over time. Through cell therapy, those aging-out stem cells can be replaced.

Regarding heart disease, it occurs in men earlier in life, but then levels off. In women it starts slower and then speeds up. But by the 70s men and women are equal in the heart disease.

During that same time period, it was interesting to note the loss of stem cells take place at the same rate.

Stem cells can self-replicate and they can come from a lot of things. The common sources of stem cells are bone marrow, blood, fat, muscle and amniotic fluid. Thanks to research, almost any cell can be turned into a stem cell.

In a research project that Doris conducted in mice regarding plaque in the heart, she discovered that female stem cells worked in both males and females. But the male stem cells only worked in male mice and they worsened the conditions of the female mice.

Ways to solve the problem of :

  • Prevention
  • Repairing the right cells
  • Finding cogent stem cell
  • Getting the right stem cells from somebody else
  • Storing your cells
  • Picking the right patients
  • Mobilizing your stem cells by reducing stress, exercising, acupuncture, meditation, etc.

Stem cells are already in use in the treatment of arthritis, sports injuries, surgeries, cosmetic applications, etc. It was on that last point that Doris warmed about the problem of medical tourism in getting overseas applications of stem cells:

  • your own doctor will not know what he/she is dealing with
  • they probably haven’t been through the clinical trials

For these reasons, she encouraged the advancement of testing and gaining access to such treatments in this country.

A couple of final points:

  1. Integrated Healthcare Association has recognized that the sexes are different and those difference need to be addressed
  2. American Heart Association published a paper last year about the difference of heart attacks in men and women

Doris then talked about building hearts in the lab. By washing the cells out of a heart and replacing those cells, the heart was able to work, plus the women’s skeletal hearts were stronger than the men’s. Similar tests are being done in other organs.

But with all the advancements, the overall results will only be successful if the differences in the genders are included.

Her final comment was to push for answers and to discuss the topic with doctors and friends.

Next up Dr. Jay Schneider, who opened with the fact that before the day’s meeting with the former first lady, his previous Texas VIP meeting had been Willie Nelson … “This is much better than that.”

 He then turned to his talk, emphasizing that in addition to gender differences, each person is totally unique in their genocode “God gave our souls, but the code determines what our cells are.”

Thanks to the modern technology — CRISPR — the genetic code can be adjusted. Jay was positively high of the development of CRISPR predicting a Noble Prize in the future for those involved in its discovery.

Back story: CRISPR was discovered thank to scientists trying to find out why yogurt went bad. It was due to bacteria.

CRISPR will go through genome — all 46 chromosomes and billions of bases — and locate the basic mistake in the makeup and “actually fix them.”

He then gave two examples of the importance. First was a young man in Dallas named “Ben,” who is suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The disease effects boys, but it is transmitted from the mothers, who do not have symptoms. Using CRISPR, Ben has a single mistake in his gene that causes Duchenne. With the new technology, they can go in using molecular technology, change the sequence, and cure the muscular disease.  Until clinical trials are done, the treatment cannot be done. However, thanks to cells that were made from his blood, muscles can be built.

Jay emphasized that this was being done with Ben’s own blood and not embryonic fluid. He credited the development of creating stems from means other than embryonic fluid to former President George W. Bush, who restricted funding of embryonic stem cell research in 2012, thereby forcing scientist to undertake other alternatives.

His second example was his year-old great niece Allison, who suffers from Acting Mental Myelopathy. Like Ben, she had one mistake in her gene make-up. Only one other child was born with this condition. Thanks to CRISPR, technology is being created that will go into her muscle and release her from her paralysis.

But there is an urgency to solving these genetic situations. As one gets older, it is harder to correct the error.

Jay then smoothly made a suggestion to the former first lady, who was seated nearby. In visiting the Bush Center, Jay was surprised to see barely a mention of the former president’s involvement in changing the world of genetics. His suggestion was to take a tube of blood from the former first lady and use it to demonstrate how stem cells can be created, thereby not requiring embryonic fluid.

Marjorie then held a brief Q&A for Doris and Jay with the audience that addressed the following points:

  • The life span of cells varies.
  • A stem cell circulates for various periods of time. They then go to the injured site or back to the bone marrow.
  • Donating a body to Jay’s clinic for research is invaluable.
  • Ben’s case is already advanced and it will be a challenge to get to each cell in his muscles. However, most Duchenne patients and their mothers tend to die from heart disease. Luckily, the heart is more accessible for using CRISPR.
  • Allison is still much younger and her mass is still developing and more manageable.
  • AIDs is a disease that is having positive results due to CRISPR.
  • One of the great issues facing the use of genetic management: the ethical questions being raised.

14th Annual New Friends New Life Luncheon Speaker Ashton Kutcher Testified On Human Trafficking And Blew A Kiss To Sen. John McCain

Ashton Kutcher*

New Friends New Life speaker Ashton Kutcher proved yesterday why he was the pick of the litter to be the keynote speaker for the 14th New Friend New Life Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Wednesday, May 10.

The 39-year-old father of wee ones Wyatt Kutcher and Dimitri Kutcher gave an “emotional” presentation before a Congressional committee including Sen. John McCain about human trafficking.

In appreciation for Sen. McCain’s response, Ashton blew him a kiss.

The young actor/businessman/co-founder of Thorn is proving to be a force to be reckoned with on the subject matter by ramping up his public voice on this crime against the innocents.

At this time only sponsorships are available. If space permits, individual tickets will become available in late March. But why wait? Get your pals together and go for a sponsorship.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

Rachael And Bob Dedman Have Drs. James Baker And Drew Bird Provide Updates For Children’s Food Allergy Center Supporters

For many parents, the sight of a scape on the knee or full blow hit at a soccer game may seem devastating. For other folks, those childhood nicks and bumps would almost seem like a cheek kiss. Those are parents whose children suffer from life-threatening food allergies.

For some, it can be just a simple peanut that can send their child to the grave. And the threat is very democratic. It knows no difference in race, creed, color or financial standing.

Bob and Rachel Dedman, Nancy Dedman and Brent Christopher

Alicia and Scott Wood

This lesson was well known to Rachael and Bob Dedman, Bob’s mom Nancy Dedman and Alicia and Scott Wood, who spearheaded the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Health. It was when Rachael’s and Bob’s daughter, “Little Nancy Dedman, had her first allergic reaction that snapped the Dedmans’ attention to the amazingly unappreciated medical condition. The result was their gathering up friends and funds to create the Food Allergy Center at Children’s and having Dr. Drew Bird head up the department.

Brett and Cindy Govett

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal

On Tuesday, January 24, the Dedmans opened up their palatial home in Preston Hollow to re-energize the program, complete with Pat and Charles McEvoy, Baxter Brinkman, Cindy and Brett Govett, Dr. Becky Gruchalla, Katy Miller, past Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal and his wife Marnie Wildenthal and Christina Durovich.

Chris Durovich and Brent Christopher

Greeting the 50 or so guests at the entry hall was Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. The pair but especially Chris were remarkably relaxed greeting the attendees, with Chris referring to himself and Brent as “Ping and Pong.” Chris also recalled how, when he was a young man, Ben and Jerry would hand out free ice cream in his Vermont hometown.

Speaking of food, the micro-doubled-baked potatoes placed on silver trays of beans were such a hit that even the most diet-conscious types couldn’t resist ‘em.

Bob Dedman desk

Bust in hallway

Pat and Claude Presidge, like others, wandered back to Bob’s office and discovered the most marvelous desk. In addition to the inlaid leather desktop, there was a fabulous elevated building that extended the full length of the desk that had secret compartments. No surprise. After all, guests had been greeted on either side of the entry hall by TK-foot tall busts of the Dedman daughters (“Little Nancy Dedman and Catherine Dedman).

When the living room was filled to capacity, Rachael introduced Fare (Food Allergy Research and Education) CEO/Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Baker, who told how his organization’s purpose was to fight for the rights of those suffering from food allergies. Just days before, Fare had filed a federal complaint against American Airlines about “the airline’s not allowing passengers with severe nut allergies to pre-board its planes along with other passengers with disabilities.” The reason for the pre-boarding is to allow the passengers “to wipe down their seats and tray tables,” according to Jim.  

Becky Gruchalla and Jim Baker

(Editor’s note: It should be noted that while American does not serve nuts on board, it does serve other nut products and other passengers are allowed to bring nuts on board.)

When the subject of the EpiPen price hike was mentioned, grumbling and not-happy-faces were noted in the crowd.

Drew Bird

  • Brent talked next very briefly, noting that Dallas County has one of the highest populations of children with food allergies in the country. Then Dr. Drew Bird spoke to the group, including his wife Brenda Bird, and introduced his new associate Dr. Christopher Parrish before announcing the opening of a food allergy center branch in Plano.

Points of interests about food allergies from Children’s Health included:

  • Eggs, milk and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy and tree nuts also included.
  • Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions.
  • Nearly 5% of children under the age of 5 have food allergies.
  • One in every 13 children in the U.S. — or about two in every classroom in America — has a food allergy.
  • Dallas County has one of the highest rates of food-allergic children in the country.
  • Food-induced allergic reactions send some to the emergency room every three minutes.

Currently, the Food Allergy Center is working with UT Southwestern on such clinical trials as:

  • Miles — The milk patch study is a two-year desensitization study in which patients are randomized to one to three doses or a placebo and wear a small patch between their should blades.
  • Palisade Phase 3 — The peanut oral immunotherapy study is a one-year desensitization trial in which patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. They being with 3 mg. of peanut protein that is gradually increased over 20 weeks to 300 mg.
  • Pepites Phase 3 — The peanut patch epicutaneous immunotherapy study randomizes patients to one to three doses or a placebo delivered via a small patch worn between the shoulder blades.
  • Slit — In this three-year peanut desensitization study, patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. Patients takes very small doses of peanut protein under the tongue daily, gradually increasing the dose to a maintenance level.

Much To Everyone’s Delight, Philanthropy Day Luncheon’s Spotlight Was Once Again Hijacked By The Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy

There are those who worry about the importance that the next generation will place on philanthropy and fundraising. But all they need to do is attend the annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon put on by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Each year, it seems like the recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy knocks it out of the park. This year’s presentation at The Hyatt Regency Dallas on Friday, November 18, once again had youth showstopping despite the eloquence of the elders. Here is a report from the field:

The Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 31st Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, held Friday, November 18, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, honored six of Dallas’ finest philanthropists and volunteers for the differences that they have made in our community. This year’s awards honored Mike Myers as Outstanding Philanthropist; Holly Mayer as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Jim Lewis, CFRE, as Outstanding Fundraising Executive; The Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation as Outstanding Foundation; Bank of America as Outstanding Corporation; and the Garage Sale Girls as Outstanding Youth(s) in Philanthropy.

Jeanie Wyatt, Holly Mayer, Jim Lewis, Kristen Lee, Scott Murray, Mike Myers, Victoria Beasley Vanderslice and Bob Beasley*

Judy Wright*

Event chair Tara Judd Longley, CFRE, CPECP, shared a message of gratitude with the crowd of 500, thanking them for their philanthropy, service, dedication, and investment in the future. 2016 AFP Greater Dallas Chapter Board President Judy Wright recognized additional major sponsors South Texas Money Management, Dini Spheris, The Dallas County Community College District Foundation, Texas Health, M. Gale and Associates, Parkland Foundation, Texas Capital Bank, and Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern.

Judy also thank longtime event emcee Scott Murray, along with son Doug Murray, who came on board with Murray Media as the luncheon’s presenting sponsor, producing the videos of the award recipients speaking prior to receiving their awards. 

The Most Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy video was one of the most memorable of the day showcasing the creativity, sense of humor, and hard work of the Garage Sale Girls – a group of childhood friends from Lewisville, who each had one parent diagnosed with cancer within a short time frame. The girls, stunned that cancer had entered each of their families’ lives so close together, decided to make a difference by organizing a garage sale. From 2011-2015, Kristen Lee, Cailee Dennis, Stefanie Doyle and Anna Elkin, raised a combined total of $90,000 to benefit cancer research at the American Cancer Society. 

As Kristen spoke on stage she said they could not believe they were able to make so much money. “I thought the first year we might make $1,000, and we made $5,000! We couldn’t have done it without the help of the community – it was amazing!” The audience roared with laughter at the video which not only showed the girls and their moms organizing the garage sales, but also included comical scenes of group driving around “dumpster diving” to find items to sell. The final scene in the video showed the group – cue the theme song from “Sanford and Son” – driving off in a red truck loaded with lots of “stuff.” Kristen Lee accepted the award on behalf of the other girls who were competing in the NCAA soccer tournament that day and could not attend the luncheon. All of the girls are freshmen at the University of Arkansas. As Scott Murray visited with Kristen on stage, he suggested they might take a selfie showing the audience behind them to text to the girls who couldn’t be there. 

Kristen Lee and Scott Murray*

He asked her for advice to the audience. She concluded, “If you have a dream, go for it! She referenced her conversation (at the age of 12) with her mom about her garage sale idea. She said her mom said, “Sure, honey, whatever…you’ll raise $10.” But she went for it anyway, and her mom and dad are her biggest cheerleaders.  

Outstanding Fundraising Executive Jim Lewis shared the most rewarding thing about fundraising is that it’s a team game, humbly acknowledging that “any significant gift in which I have been involved has had many fingerprints in it.” He went on to say his role is merely one of a facilitator working on behalf of a cause and assisting those who are the difference makers through their philanthropy.  He also gave a moving tribute to his late wife Cheryl, whom he lost last January, and gratefully accepted the award on her behalf and in recognition of countless other spouses who have made great but significant contributions “ to support folks like me who endeavor to serve the greater good through our work.”

Sammye and Mike Myers*

Outstanding Philanthropist Mike Myers shared that his personal inspiration for giving was his mother. “As a school teacher and Sunday School teacher, she taught me the importance of giving. She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk.  It was through her example and guidance that I developed a compassion for and a commitment to those who need a helping hand.”

Attendees included Mary Brinegar, Brent Christopher, Ruben Esquivel, Ed Fjordbak, Sarah Losinger, Michael Meadows, Jay McAuley, Lynn McBee, Helen and Frank Risch, Bob Thornton, Lynn Vogt and Jeanie Wyatt.

Scott Murray concluded the luncheon, thanking all for coming to celebrate the impact philanthropy has in our communities and encouraging everyone to note the date for next year – Friday, November 10, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman