2017 CancerBlows Committee Tackles Everything From Coordinating World-Class Musicians’ Scheduling To Busing Kids In

Putting on a one-day-only event is tough. Managing all the logistics is like juggling cactus. But a multi-day venture ramps all those headaches to migraine status. So, the CancerBlows team has been orchestrating all the arrangements of bringing in world-class trumpet players for its May 8th-May 10th fundraising activities for The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

But it’s all underway, thanks to CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony and Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill and the legion of volunteers, committee members and sponsors raising funds to battle multiple myeloma.

How about an example? On Tuesday, May 9, there will be a series of free Education Events including

  • Chamber Music Master Class — CancerBlows artists affiliated with chamber music groups such as Canadian Brass, Boston brass, Rhythm and Brass and more work with collegiate brass quintets.
  • Panel Discussion with CancerBlows Artists — Public Q&A session with CancerBlows artists. Topics include warm-up techniques, making a living as a freelancer and professionalism in the workplace.
  • CancerBlows Jazz Master Class — CancerBlows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with emphasis on jazz.
  • Cancer Blows Classical Master Class — Cancer Blows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with a classical emphasis.
  • CancerBlows Big Band/Jazz Artist rehearsal — Select local high school and college students are invited to watch the first half of the CancerBlows Big Band and Jazz Artist rehearsal.
  • Lessons With the Legends* — Select CancerBlows Legends will make lesson times available to individuals.

Ryan Anthony

Niki Anthony

Tim Andersen

David Cowling

That all sounds like it covers all the bases, but then how do you transport the students to the events? That was one of the  questions addressed at a meeting of volunteers on Monday, February 27, at Jones Day including Niki, Ryan, David Cowling, Todd Ranta and Tim Andersen.

The answer seemed simple — just use school buses. Not so fast. It was to take place on a school day, and the school buses’ priority was busing students home. And you just thought carpool was a challenge! But not to worry. The team handled the challenge, so the kids wouldn’t miss out.

BTW, if you want to be part of the committee putting this mega-fundraiser together to fight multiple myeloma, you’ll be hanging out with Jenna Alexander, Larry Alexander, Diane and Joel Allison, Niki and Ryan Anthony, Deidre and Chris Bacala, Jamie Jo Boulogne, Laura and Bob Beard, Diane and Hal Brierley, Christen Casenave, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Megan and Michael Considine, John Conn, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Amy Youngquist and David Cowling, Serena and Tom Connelly, Roberta Corbett, Barbara and Don Daseke, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Cary and Mark Deuber, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Dean Dimmitt, Noelle and David Dunavan, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ashley Berges and Greg Fasullo, Lora Farris, Michelle and Kevin Finamore, Holly Forsythe, Emily and Darryl Freeling, Don Gaiser, Hadley and Travis Galt, Shay and Brian Geyer, Sally and Mark Helm, Julie and Ken Hersh, Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Peggy and Tim Horner, Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Colleen O’Conner and Joe Hubach, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Linda and Steve Ivy, Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Wendy and Michael Jenkins, Kathie and Randy King, Maggie Kipp, Jeri and David Kleiman, Richard Stanley and Matthew Kline, Allan Knight and Cearan Henley, Tracy and Ben Lange, Julian Leaver, Susan and Dean McSherry, Alison and Mike Malone, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Amy and Jonathan Martin, Sarah Catherine Norris, Delia Parman and Robert Kyle, Leah and Jim Pasant, Cyndi Phelps, Terri and Brad Phillips, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Brian Ratner, Stacey and John Relton, Melody and Rick Rogers, Carla Ferrer and Joe Russo, Susan Post Sanford, Lisa Simmons, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Linda and Thomas Smith, Hamilton A. Sneed, Cindy Stager, Tara and Harvey Stotland, Aneeta and Sandy Sule, Elisa and Stephen Summers, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Ellen and Larry Talley, Jill Tananbaum, Rachel and Christopher Trowbridge, Ashley Tatum and New Walker, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Kameron and Court Westcott and Piper and Mike Wyatt.

Contact Niki for information on how to sign up.

* There is a fee for the lesson and available times are very limited.

JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Deets Revealed With More To Come

Recently Tucker Enthoven and Ola Fojtasek  have been hunkering down about some kind of project. After much prodding and pushing (okay, so the typical types of medieval tortures were not applied), they wouldn’t give up the info. Still they offered smiles, winks and what all.

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven

Finally, after over-the-top pleading and first-born-promises, the duo revealed the date for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon fundraiser for Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Tucker is gonna be chairing the event and Ola will be handling the underwriting efforts.

It will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

As for the guest speaker, hold your breath. Nobody’s talking, but they’re all thrilled. Stay tuned for deets. Gee, whiz! It can’t possibly be who is rumored! But dadgummit, time will tell. Besides, if it helps prevent breast cancer, that’s what matters.

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.

New Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Jim Hinton Met Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Members At St. V-Day Luncheon

Just outside the dining room at the Charles Sammons Cancer Center, there was a long line of people waiting to meet a Very Important Person when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board met on Tuesday, February 14. And, why not? The quarterly meeting, after all, marked one of the first public appearances ever by James (“Jim”) Hinton, who’d been tapped to succeed Joel Allison as the president and CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health.

Jim Hinton, Lindalyn Adams and Margo Goodwin*

And, like savvy showmen saving the big act for last, the foundation scheduled Hinton as the final speaker on the 90-minute luncheon program, whose theme was, “Radiologists: Master Interpreters in Diagnosing and Monitoring Disease.” With board members including Barry Andrews, Lisa Troutt, Ray Washburne, Pryor Blackwell, Ron Steinhart, Jill Smith, Richard Holt, Aileen Pratt, Michal Powell and Steve Leiberman in attendance, Board Chair Margo Goodwin kicked off the meeting by urging the members to “up” their giving, in order to reach 100% by the next quarterly get-together.

Michal Powell, Robin Robinson and Aileen Pratt*

Pryor Blackwell*

Jill Smith*

“We’re at 67% participation now,” she said. “We’ve been at 100 percent for each of the last four years, and I hope we won’t break that spell.” Margo also encouraged gifts to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, which selected Baylor University Medical Center as the site of its newest facility. Hope Lodge Dallas will offer free accommodations for cancer patients who have to travel long distances for their care.

Margo gave way at that point to Foundation President Rowland Robinson, who noted the recent deaths of three strong foundation supporters: former Zale Corp. Vice Chairman Leo Fields, former Baylor liver-transplant recipient Ginny Sellers, and Tommy Valenta, a former top executive with Chaparral Steel Co. and Texas Industries.

Greg dePrisco*

With that, Robin talked a little about the meeting’s focus on radiology—“the last link in the diagnostic chain,” he called it—before introducing featured speaker Gregory dePrisco, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist and director of the MRI Fellowship Program at Baylor University Medical Center. During his fascinating and sometimes-humorous presentation, Greg explained that a radiologist is a “doctor’s doctor,” and that 1.2% of all doctors are radiologists.

He recalled the specialty’s history, from the discovery of X-rays through the widespread use of CT scans and MRIs. He told about his membership on an “anal/rectal task force” and showed and explained a number of MRIs, including an MRI comparison between a 40-year-old woman who presented normally (the subject was actually his wife, Dr. Michelle Nichols, who was in the audience) and another woman with rectal pathology and a prolapsed uterus. 

Greg also recalled how he had personally suffered a stroke; was misdiagnosed at another local medical center, where the paramedics took him; and then recovered after receiving the correct diagnosis. (Greg had “something in my lung” that caused the stroke, he explained.) The radiologist ended his presentation by showing CT images of a colonoscopy, a mammogram, and a cancerous lung, before concluding with this observation: “Radiology is a strong link in the healthcare chain. I did go over my time a little bit, but the [story about my] stroke slowed me down!”

Jim Hinton*

Then it was time for Jim to end the program with some brief closing remarks. He took the reins at Baylor Scott And White Health in January, after serving for years as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, that state’s largest healthcare provider.

“It’s good to be in Texas,” Jim told the board members. “Typically in February I’m around a lot of Texans—but in the [ski] lift line at Taos. I wasn’t looking for a job when this one came around. But [Baylor’s] reputation and the opportunity to live in a community like Dallas were too much to pass up.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts are crucial, Jim said finally, because “there’s not enough money in patient-care revenue” to support the Baylor healthcare system’s world-class work.

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party Turned Out To Be A Gangbuster For Theme And Entertainment Announcements

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Anne Stodghill sent out an email blast to the 100 committee members. It dealt with the attendance for the evening’s attendance for the 2017 CBB Reveal at the Stodghill home. The message was simple — Take Uber. The event that was originally guest-imated for 150 had exploded to 400.

Evidently, the sisterhood got the message. Still, the Jack Boles troops had luxury vehicles parked a block away within 20 minutes of the party’s opening.

Steve Stodghill and Callan Harrison

Upon arrival it was pretty darn obvious that the legend of the Stodg-villa had gotten around. Those-in-the-know directed newbies when asked, “Where’s the Bat Cave?” Steve Stodghill provided firsthand tours through the library to the cave where the masked man held up.

In the crowd were Katy Bock, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cindy Stager, Joanna Clarke, Callan Harrison, Vodi Cook, Michael Royal, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Phil Romano, Deborah Westergaard, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Amy Green, Lisa Haddow Shirley, Paige Westhoff, Larry Hackett, Bela Pjetrovic with fiancée Chase Cooley and future-mom-in-law Lisa Cooley. Made sense, since the Cooleys were underwriting the reveal event.

Jeff and Olivia Kearney

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Junior League of Dallas Ball Chair Isabell Novakov in suede and leather blouse reported that she had her sites sets on breaking a record for the JLD fundraiser… Brooke Hortenstine reported that her mother Peggy Davis was on the mend and headed home… Steve Solomon quickly cleaned up his red wine that had spilled in the entry hall… Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on not just surviving last year’s heart attack, but for taking up the banner in the war against heart disease.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal guests

Just past 7:30, Sunie and Anne took their places on the Stodghill winding staircase with the entry hall jammed with guests. With mic in hand, Anne told of the personal commitment to turn all cancer patients into cancer survivors.

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

As the two revealed the theme — Shooting for the Stars — and the mainstage performers — Brooks & Dunn — for the 44th American Cancer Society fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, at Gilley’s Dallas, the co-chairs found themselves being upstaged. It seems that tousled-haired Stodghill offspring Dash Stodghill in cowboy attire decided the time was right to arrange his stuffed animals on the stairway. At one point, Mama Stodghill smiled saying, “Someone has just lost his computer.” But the threat didn’t deter Dash and his critters. Parents in the crowd laughed. They obviously could relate to a progeny having a mind of his/her own.

And, one gal in the crowd was especially ecstatic to hear about Brooks & Dunn. Seems that Olivia had chaired the ball back in 2006 (with Jana Wood), and the superstar duo was also the entertainment that year at Southfork Ranch. Olivia recalled having seen the boys months before the ball at a concert in Fort Worth. She even caught their drumsticks when they threw them into the crowd and “rubbed them together for luck” week after week, vowing to sign the duo up for “her” Cattle Baron’s Ball. Olivia knew the deal was sealed when Kix (Brooks) confessed, “I love Cattle Baron’s. My mother died of cancer when I was 8.” 

Information about tickets and sponsorship packages is available now!

For additional pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill had a bit of challenge on their hands for the “Reveal Party” on Thursday, February 2. It seemed everyone not only RSVP-ed, they wanted to bring all types of friends along to learn who would be on stage and what the theme would be.

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Despite the shindig being held at the Stodghill villa and the night being picture perfect, it was still gonna be a bit of jam for all the expected cars. How did Sunie and Anne handle the situation?

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

Be patient. The answer will be in the write-up that is being prepared. In the meantime, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

James Frary To Chair American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter Of North Texas

James Frary was just announced as the head of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter of North Texas. As part of his responsibilities he will be focusing “on a variety of issues facing working professionals from diverse industries across the northern half of the state. He will direct the newly established North Texas chapter to address cancer’s impact on the workforce, including improving employee heath, workplace productivity and health care costs.”

James Frary*

For his day job, Frary is executive vice president of AmerisourceBergen, “a global leader in specialty pharmaceutical distribution and services.”

A graduate of Stanford University, James earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

According to James, “Providing barrier free access to treatments for patients and the providers who are supporting their battle against cancer is a enormous focus for associates at AmerisourceBergen and a topic that I’m personally passionate about. To that end, I am excited and proud to work with the Society to empower the North Texas business community to be leaders in the fight against cancer.”

CancerBlows Behind-The-Scenes Crew Meets At The Meyerson And A Holiday Surprise Delights Niki And Ryan Anthony

All the stars of a performance aren’t on the stage receiving the applause of the audience. Behind the scenes is an army of folks who are as talented as the performers upfront. They are the production crew including recording engineers, producers, lighting, video, camera and stage managers. The talent in front of the curtain depends on the usually faceless group behind-the-scenes to make the performance flawless.

CancerBlows production crew at the Meyerson

Such a group of troopers sat in the Meyerson lobby around tables with a box of Krispy Kremes. Some of the people were part of the Meyerson crew. Others like audio and video recordings manager Erica Brenner based in Cleveland had flown in to discuss the logistics for the Wednesday, May 10, CancerBlows concert.

Ryan Anthony and Erica Brenner

Everything had to be perfect. After all, the world’s leading horn players Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, and former trumpet players from the Canadian Brass would be performing to make money for the Baylor Health Cares System Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

CancerBlows Co-Founder Niki and Ryan Anthony admitted that they had receive a surprise “Gift” over the holidays: “Lee Loughnane from Chicago will be participating again this year! Chicago’s 50th anniversary is this year and they are in the midst of a big tour supporting that and their induction into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame last year.

“He initially said there would be no way he could take the days off. But he called Ryan over the holiday and said he just couldn’t miss it and has made arrangements with the band to be free the 9th and 10th. Ryan is scrambling to adjust the program to accommodate the addition, but we’re very excited to say the least.”

JUST IN: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball “To Shoot For The Stars” With Brooks And Dunn At Gilley’s Dallas

And the day ends with more breaking news concerning Lisa and Clay Cooley. Well, sorta.

This morning the Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin revealed that Lisa and Clay would be co-chairing the 2017 DSO Gala in September. Just minutes ago, more than 400 Cattle Baron’s Ball types learned the deets for the 2017 American Cancer Society fundraiser at a reveal party sponsored by Clay Cooley Auto Group.

Sunie Solomon (File photo)

Anne Stodghill (File photo)

But you really want to know the news revealed. 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill (aka “Suni-Anne”) told the crowd at Anne and Steve Stodghill’s estate-sweet-estate (aka “Stodg-villa”) that this year’s theme would be “Shooting For The Stars — A Dream As Big As Texas” with the party returning to Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, October 21.

Brooks and Dunn*

Now for the big news. Providing the boot-kicking entertainment on the Main Stage for the expected 3,500+ cowgirls and cowboys, it will be country western favs Brooks and Dunn.  

The gals have Jamie Jo Boulogne, Dawn Greiner and Jonika Nix as underwriting co-chairs; Lisa Bhattacharya, Lora Farris and Lauren Snyder as auction co-chairs; Marjon Henderson and Lisa Shirley as live auction co-chairs; and Marybeth Conlon, Laura Reeder, Amanda Shufeldt and Nikki Webb as raffle co-chairs.  

The website is trying to catch up with Suni-Anne, so if you want to lock down a sponsorship or a big-buckeroo package, call 214.443.9222.

* Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball

MySweet2017Goals: Niki and Ryan Anthony

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony,

“Our goal is to exceed the success of the original CancerBlows concert that debuted in 2015 event when the concert and programming returns to Dallas in May! With the help of Honorary Co-Chairs Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Event Co-Chairs D’ Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill, we are working tirelessly to bring enhanced awareness and record funds to help eradicate multiple myeloma.”

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

A Passing: “The Exorcist” Author William Peter Blatty, Multiple Myeloma And A Long Ago Story About A Dallas Encounter

MySweetCharity

Today CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony were meeting with CancerBlows Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons Lock and Anne Stodghill and a production crew from around the country for the upcoming May 8-10th multiple myeloma fundraiser at the Meyerson. (More about that in the days to come.)

While they were finalizing plans for the event that will have the world’s greatest horn players perform to support research and treatments about the disease that struck Ryan, multiple myeloma proved just how deadly it is. Academy Award-winning screenwriter/acclaimed author of “The Exorcist” William Peter Blatty died the day before as a result of the blood cancer.

Blatty’s death recalled an incident that took place in Dallas back in 1973. A very young and green society writer at The Dallas Morning News was assigned to cover a party hosted by Polly and Dick Hitt and Jeanne and Jim Butler for a novelist named William Peter Blatty. In a Google-less world, she wandered the newsroom asking reporters if they had ever heard of Blatty. All she got were shrugs. Well, there was one writer who said he thought the guy had written about teddy bears.

So, off the society writer went to the party at a mansion on Preston Road, where she encountered all types of local celebs like KVIL’s Ron Chapman and Hugh Lampman and Bettie and Fairmont Hotel General Manager Julian Abio. Once again, she asked, “Have you heard of William Peter Blatty?” Again, the responses were shrugs and side-shaking of heads.

Wandering into a small sitting room, she found a man seated in a chair whom she didn’t know. After exchanging “Hellos,” she again asked him if he knew of William Peter Blatty. He responded, “As a matter of fact I do. He wrote a book called ‘The Exorcist.’” Innocently, she asked if he had read it. He nodded. She followed that up with, “Is it any good?” He said he thought so.

She was on a roll and asked if her new friend could point Blatty out. He then aimed his index finger at his chest.

She smiled and they both laughed.

Now, having experienced the most awkward moment that could possibly happen in their relationship, she said, “Do you know that you look yellow? Is it the lighting or are you wearing some kind of makeup?” He said he hadn’t been feeling all that great and appreciated her concern.

After a few minutes, she departed.

The next day the society writer received a call from host Jim Butler saying that after she had left the party, Blatty had been taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with hepatitis. “He keeps asking for you,” Butler said.

Over the next few months, the movie version was released and the phone calls between the society writer and Blatty continued. He would talk about his life and how the movie’s popularity had been both flattering and weird. After she had seen the movie, she acted like a movie expert and wondered if it would have been better done in black and white. He laughed and said that he had lobbied for that, but the director and money people were totally opposed to that idea.

While staying in Colorado, Blatty called and insisted that the writer come to Colorado to meet his mother, Mary Blatty. He had spoken of his mother often and had told her about the writer. Bill just knew the two ladies would hit it off. The writer suggested that Blatty put Mary on the phone, so they could chat.

It was then that the relationship took a definite “exorcist” turn. He couldn’t put his mother on the phone. She had died in 1967. It was the last time the reporter and Blatty would talk.

Ally’s Wish’s Boots And Blessings Kicked Off With Krispin Munchies, Champagne And A 10% Give Back At Draper James

With the holiday season just days away, Thursday, November 15th was the perfect time to learn about plans for Ally’s Wish’s Boot And Blessings Gala at Draper James especially with the store’s providing a 10% give back. Here’s a report from the field:

Southern charm and southern hospitality couldn’t have made for a more perfect night at the new Draper James boutique in Highland Park Village on Thursday, November 15.  The 3-year-old nonprofit organization Ally’s Wish hosted a kick-off celebration for the annual Boots And Blessings Gala. The organization that grants wishes for terminally ill young mothers (many of whom are fighting terminal cancer diagnosis), celebrated with southern inspired bites by Wendy Krispin Caterer and Korbel California Champagne Non-Vintage Brut Rosé.

Draper James*

As guests filled the narrow boutique, scents of the Draper James holiday spice candle filled the room and the shopping commenced. A give back on the night of 10% of sales was all that guests needed to hear in order to do some early holiday gift shopping for friends and family.

Kersten Rettig, Jill Salinaro, Shirley Cohn and Mary Hubbard*

In attendance were former Highland Park Village Marketing Director, Kersten Rettig (she’s also the Gala Underwriting Chair), Erin Key, Andrea Reich, Jill Salinaro, Barbara Dianis, Jessica Velasco, Mary Hubbard and Laura Armstrong Downing, who will serve as this year’s Advisory Chair.

Kim Gilchrist, Kellie Rasberry and Missy Phipps*

Host/Emcee Kellie Rasberry gathered the crowd around the large in-store island and began sharing her connection to the organization and how it was so reminiscent of Kidd’s Kids, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary this month. As Rasberry noted, “It is the moms that the wishes are granted for, but the children who have the lasting memories”.

As Kim Gilchrist, one half of the event chair duo, made sponsor announcements and recognized the other members of the event leadership team she shared her excitement for the 2017 event. With over 19 moms on the waiting list for wishes to be granted, and more requests coming in monthly, the annual gala provides the necessary funds to create the memories that the moms’ desire.

Following Kim’s comments, Ally’s Wish Co-Founder/President Missy Phipps shared the history of the organization. With many new faces in the crowd, it was an opportunity to share the story of the late Allyson Hendrickson and how four friends created an organization that has impacted over 40 moms since its inception in March of 2014. 

Missy Phipps, Holly Reed, Kelly Walgamott and Melissa Cary*

As the evening was winding down and guests were making their final purchases, the Draper James team made the night a bit sweeter with branded cupcakes from Sprinkles!

With a successful kickoff event in the books, the focus now turns to the upcoming event. The 3rd Annual Boots And Blessings Gala will be held on Saturday, April 29, at Gilley’s Dallas. For more information, tickets or sponsorships please visit www.allyswish.org.

Photo Credit: Bob Manzano

A Passing: Jan Pruitt

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

There are just some posts that one dreads writing. This is one of them. It is with the greatest sorrow to report that the North Texas Food Bank’s former President/CEO Jan Pruitt died today.

It was just a month ago after battling cancer for more than a year that she and her doctors decided that her time would be best spent with her family and she “stepped down from her position at NTFB.”

As NTFB Director of Communications Anna Kurian said, “I was comforted knowing that she spent Christmas and New Year’s Day with her family. I am sitting in our offices, looking at her office and missing her very much.”

In the days ahead much will be written about Jan’s leadership at NTFB and how she took it on 20 years ago and grew the organization that feeds thousands upon thousands each year. But it will be difficult to describe the zest she had. There was just a twinkle in her eye and a down-to-business attitude that inspired all around her to roll up their sleeves and help faceless and nameless people.

During her months of illness, she continued to juggle her families at home and at NTFB with her treatments. But then that’s how Jan was. And that’s the inspiration she has provided for those who knew her and those who benefited from her efforts.

According to NTFB Board Chair Tom Black,

“Jan was a one-of-a-kind leader whose spirit and passion for feeding our hungry neighbors will continue to live in each of us as we fulfill her extraordinary legacy through the mission of the Food Bank.  

“I knew Jan well, and I know that she would want us to forge ahead to close the hunger gap in the 13 counties that the Food Bank serves. To that end and as part of our ten-year plan, the North Texas Food Bank will fulfill Jan’s vision of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025.”

Today and tomorrow and the tomorrows to come, while you’re filling your kitchens with marvelous aromas or giving your orders to waiters for chef-prepared dishes, there will be folks who will count their blessings for a meal provided by the efforts of a person, whom they never met but will be ever grateful. That person is due to a dedicated wunderkind amongst us by the name of Jan Pruitt.

In keeping with Jan’s commitment and love for NTFB, her family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the North Texas Food Bank honoring Jan.

We extend our most sincere condolences to her family, the NTFB staff and to the countless children and adults, who will not go hungry today or in the future thanks to Jan. As tears are shed, may the multitudes be fed.

MySweetWishList: CancerBlows

According to Ryan Anthony Foundation Co-Founder Niki Anthony,

Ryan and Niki Anthony (File photo)

CancerBlows was meant to be a once-in-as-life time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party. The event sold out and raised substantial money for Multiple Myeloma patients and research via the Ryan Anthony Foundation.

“My husband, Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at age 43 in 2012. Thanks to aggressive and ongoing treatment, Ryan is in remission.  But, our passion to eradicate the disease is still strong.

“We are so fortunate to have a second CancerBlows scheduled for May of 2017 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. We are anticipating 1,800 guests who will enjoy a performance with such headliners as Doc Severinson, Arturo Sandoval, the Canadian Brass and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross in addition to fifteen other legends.

CancerBlows*

“During this holiday season, we are so grateful to the have the endorsement of philanthropists Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger who have brought tremendous resources to our efforts being spearheaded by Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock with Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill.

“My wish is that everyone who has been affected by this dreaded disease finds the treatment, hope and eventual cure that is on the horizon. Proceeds from CancerBlows will directly benefit individuals in the Dallas area.  In the meantime, please make plans to join us for this important fund-raising event on May 10. Visit cancerblows.com for more information.”

-By Niki Anthony, Ryan Anthony Foundation co-found

* Graphic provided by CancerBlows

Cattle Baron’s Ball Fall Luncheon At New Del Frisco’s Was Rich With The Presentation Of $3,350,448.16 Check

The fall Cattle Baron’s luncheon is a handing over of the reins. It’s when the current chairs present a big-boy check for cancer research earned from their tenure and let the new co-chairs formally take over.

This year the transition took place on Wednesday, November 9, at the really new Del Frisco’s at the corner of Olive and McKinney in Uptown.

Whoa! Don’t make the mistake that some new guests made. It wasn’t the Del Frisco’s Grille further up McKinney. Nope, it was at the OMG newest hot spot in Uptown.

And while the valets seemed a bit overwhelmed at the bumper-to-bumper parade of luxury SUV’s with long legged, stiletto drivers and the hostess station held the guests downstairs until all was just right upstairs, who cared?

Vodi Cook, Lauren Snyder, Lee McDonald and Emily Billingsley

From former CBB chairs (Olivia Kearney, Tanya Foster, Cindy Stager, Brooke Shelby, Jennifer Dix, Tia Wynne, Mary Parker, Mary Martha Pickens, KJ Sanger) to new members (Vodi Cook, Lee McDonald, Heather Randall, Andrea Cheek, Daniella Giglio, Holle Hirzel, Kelley Schadt, Rachel Stienke and Kristina Wrenn) all types were celebrating the fundraiser of a couple of weeks earlier headed up by Cara French and Andrea Weber and looking forward to future plans under the leadership of 2017 CBB Co-Chair Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill.

Andrea Weber and Cara French*

But the highlight of the meal was the presentation of the check — $3,350,448.16 — for the American Cancer Society.

* Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank CEO Jan Pruitt Is Officially “Stepping Down”

Gee, it seems all the cute nonprofit top  gals are retiring. First, there was TACA’s President/Executive Director Becky Young. Then earlier this week, Trinity Trust’s President/CEO Gail Thomas announced her retirement. Now, word comes that North Texas Food Bank President/CEO Jan Pruitt is “stepping down effective today.”

Becky Young (File photo)

Gail Thomas (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

According to the official press release, “Rather than continue with her medical treatment and in consultation with her doctors, she has chosen to spend time with family and friends in the comfort of her home.”

Knowing Jan, after spending over a year battling cancer, she wants to focus on spending the holiday with her family and let her North Texas Food Bank family focus on providing for the thousands in need of food during the neediest time of year.

Luckily, Jan is such a smart cookie. Her vision for NTFB is in place and she has an all-star team in place to see that plan through.

So, if you want the ultimate perfect holiday gift, why not drop Jan a note and make a donation to her baby — North Texas Food Bank. And how about making it the price of a la-di-da dinner at some swanky Dallas restaurant? That suggestion also goes to area restaurateurs and nonprofits, who have long respected Jan’s 20 years at NTFB.

Remember, hunger is the first step in providing people with the ability to be educated, to create, to survive the next day and to even provide for their children and animals. North Texas Food Bank has been the oasis for so many, including your neighbors and strangers.

For the full announcement, follow the jump, but don’t forget to send Jan a note and make that donation.

[Read more…]

MySweetWishList: “In Grandma’s Garden”

According to “In Grandma’s Garden” author Brenda West Cockerell,

Brenda West Cockerell*

Brenda West Cockerell*

“My wish this holiday season is that everyone will consider giving the gift of hope with ‘In Grandma’s Garden,’ an imaginative story about the joys to be found in a grandmother’s garden. ‘In Grandma’s Garden’ makes a great gift for a child, parent, teacher, grandmother or breast cancer survivor, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.

“Current beneficiaries include Baylor Health Care System Foundation. In conjunction with The Beacon Family Foundation, these gifts will support Celebrating Women for the purpose of breast cancer research, specifically Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy’s revolutionary work. Celebrating Women is Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s annual luncheon to raise funds for Baylor Scott & White Health – North Texas’ fight against breast cancer. More than $26 million has been raised through Celebrating Women over the past 16 years, and we hope to donate as much as possible through the sales of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’

"In Grandma's Garden"*

“In Grandma’s Garden”*

“’In Grandma’s Garden’ was written as a tribute to my dear friend Holly Horton, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009, and it was always a dream of ours to write an imaginative children’s book together that would bring readers laughter, joy and feelings of peace.  Written in simple rhymes and verses, children will delight in the unexpected surprises found the beauty and sanctuary of Grandma’s garden.

“By working with Baylor Health Care System Foundation, I hope to support Celebrating Women by increasing awareness and funding for the breast cancer research of Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, medical oncologist at the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research, and one of the best oncologists in Dallas. Dr. O’Shaughnessy specializes in breast cancer treatment within Texas Oncology, serves as Chair of Breast Cancer Research for the US Oncology Research Network, and is the founder of The School of Breast Oncology.

“To purchase the book, please visit www.grandmasgardenbook.com.

“Please join me in honoring Holly, and all those affected by breast cancer, by purchasing a copy of ‘In Grandma’s Garden.’ Your gift to a child gives the gift of hope to a woman and her family praying for a cure!”

-By Brenda West Cockerell, “In Grandma’s Garden” author

* Graphic and photo provided by "In Grandma's Garden"

2017 Cancer Blows Kick-Off Party Has SRO Turnout Despite Traffic Jam And Competing Events

The world of nonprofits hit head on with the political universe on Tuesday, November 1, on Lakeside. While usually only geese and ducks honk on the elegant drive, on this night it was luxury vehicles with drivers getting steamed. One gent stood on the running board of his stationery SUV shaking his fist at the god of traffic jams.

The jam resulted from two big gatherings — the kick-off party for Cancer Blows at Ashley Tatum’s and Newt Walker’s residence overlooking Turtle Creek, and a get-together a block away for U.S. Representative Pete Sessions.

Linda and Steve Ivy

Linda and Steve Ivy

Adding to the mix was the fact that the Cancer Blows event had initially been planned for under 75 guests, but as the minutes ticked away, that headcount evolved to a number just a smidge less than 200, including Robin Robinson, Linda and Steve Ivy, Martha and David Tiller, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and newlyweds Emily Eisenhauer Freling and Darryl Freling, who had just returned from their wedding in California’s Napa Valley.

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling

Darryl Freling and Emily Eisenhauer Freling

Inside the Tatum-Walker abode, the trophies of Newt’s past hunting ventures had been replaced by artistic Ashley’s fav artists like David Bates.

Because it was such a busy night in town with Colin Powell at the Meyerson, Adele at American Airlines Center, etc., not everyone could stay for the presentation in the living room featuring a slimmed-down Cancer Blows Co-Chair D’Andra Simmons Lock and husband/Co-Chair Jeremy Lock and The Ryan Anthony Foundation President Ryan Anthony, who just happened to have his trumpet in hand. Fellow Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill were in Nashville attending the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards. D’Andra, Jeremy, and Ryan were engulfed by well-wishers and supporters throughout the evening. 

With the crowd spilling into the side hallways, plans were revealed that the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation fundraiser event will return to the Meyerson for its headliner concert on Wednesday, May 10, featuring the world’s leading trumpeters. Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger.

Leading up to the Meyerson performance, there will be two days in which a variety of activities are planned. Declared D’Andra: “We’re doing everything we can to make this the most incredible sell-out ‘Blows’ ever.”

In addition to the packed crowd, there were videographers recording the event. When event planner Hamilton Sneed was asked whether the crew was on hand for a local reality show, he looked shocked and responded that they were part of his team filming for future promotional purposes. Whew!

Rita Wilson Showed Spunk, Humor And Courage About Her Breast Cancer At The 17th Annual Celebrating Women Luncheon

North Texas treasure Lindalyn Adams was under the weather on Thursday, October 20. Of all days to be ill, this one was the wrong one. It was also the day when her brainchild fundraiser, the 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon, was scheduled to take place at the Anatole. While it would be the first in its 17-year history for Lindalyn to miss, the show went on to raise funds for Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s efforts to battle breast cancer.

Despite her absence, Baylor Health Care System President Robin Robinson and Baylor Scott And White Health CEO/Luncheon Honorary Co-Chair Joel Allison lauded her from the podium giving her full credit for the $26M that the annual luncheon has provided.

Lynn McBee, Caren Kline and Ros Dawson

Lynn McBee, Caren Kline and Ros Dawson

Virginia Chandler Dykes

Virginia Chandler Dykes

Gail Fischer

Gail Fischer

Julie Turner

Julie Turner

Angie Kadesky, Tucker Enthoven and Nancy Carter

Angie Kadesky, Tucker Enthoven and Nancy Carter

Rita Wilson and Nancy Rogers

Rita Wilson and Nancy Rogers

The program for this year’s VIP reception in the Wedgwood Room was a tadbit different than past years. Robin decided all the speech making at previous pre-luncheon gatherings was unnecessary. So he killed the speeches and just let the crowd (Margo Goodwin, Julie Turner, Anne Nixon, Barbara Stuart, Sara Martineau, Randi Halsell, Angie Kadesky, Tucker Enthoven, Nancy Carter, D’Andra Simmons, Becky Bright, Caren Kline, Ros Dawson, Lynn McBee, Fredye Factor, Sarah Losinger, Gail Fischer, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Debbie Oates) have coffee, juice, pastries and chit chat. Great decision!

Kate Swail and Robin Robinson

Kate Swail and Robin Robinson

One topic was who the gal was in the hot pink embroidered caftan. It turned out to be Robin’s daughter Kate Swail.

Just outside the Wedgwood Room, a unique twosome posed for a photo — Gretchen Minyard Williams of the Minyard Food Store family and Connie Yates of Celebrating Women presenting sponsor Tom Thumbs. The two had a chuckle when Connie recalled upon arriving on the Dallas scene, folks would mistake her for Gretchen.

Connie Yates and Gretchen Minyard Williams

Connie Yates and Gretchen Minyard Williams

Joel and Diane Allison

Joel and Diane Allison

Honorary Co-Chair/Joel’s better half Diane Allison told how the couple had bought a condo in Waco and were looking forward to it. Only problem? Their Dallas digs sold faster than they had planned, so Diane was hustling to get things ready to move out. 

The only hitch was a very slow-mo, greet-and-meet photo session with keynote speaker/multi-talented Rita Wilson. While Rita was delightful, VIP guests were lined up three deep waiting for their photos.  

BTW, you would have loved Rita. Everyone did. Like you, she was gracious and fun. One couldn’t help but suspect she’s on everybody’s Christmas card list.

When the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened, you would have been amazed how filled the place was with Toni Brinker, Lana Andrews, Gene Jones, Lee Ann White, Al Hill Jr. with daughters Heather Washburne and Elisa Summers, Nancy Rogers and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

While Event Chair Aileen Pratt visited tables, husband Jack Pratt revealed the secret of youth. With a smile, the spry 90-year-young Pratt attributed it to having young children, Aileen and three points that he had learned from Dr. Kenneth Cooper:

  1. Go to sleep each night at the same time
  2. Sleep for eight hours
  3. Eat healthy.

Once the program got underway, the speakers (Aileen, Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale, Robin and Joel) kept their words short and on point — genetic research is the future in the fight against breast cancer. Their words were supported by a video featuring experts like genetic counselor Ann Bunnell and breast cancer survivor Tracie Johnson

Aileen Pratt

Aileen Pratt

Gloria Eulich Martindale

Gloria Eulich Martindale

It was touching to see Joel on stage for his final appearance as CEO of Baylor Scott and White.

Another change in the luncheon’s program was the usual speech from the podium was replaced by a conversation between Rita and Robin. It was as if it was a chat in a living room as the two settled back in white easy chairs. It was the first time that Rita had discussed her having breast cancer in front of group, but her hopes was that one person might get a second opinion and save their life after hearing her story. 

Rita Wilson and Robin Robinson

Rita Wilson and Robin Robinson

Ten years earlier, Rita’s doctor told her that she was at high risk for having cancer, but not to worry. Still she went to have yearly mammograms and MRIs. All was fine until one in 2015. She had a needle biopsy with no resounding conclusions. Still Rita wasn’t satisfied and had two lumpectomies to remove tissues. Still there was no proof of cancer. Then she stressed that all should listen, “I just had a gut feeling that that just didn’t feel right.” A breast cancer survivor friend suggested her getting a second opinion and recommended Dr. Ira Bleiweiss.  It just so happened that she was doing a play in NYC and flying home on the weekends for her surgeries. One New York surgeon asked why she was having all these lumpectomies… “Why aren’t you getting a second opinion? The guy we use is Dr. Ira Bleiweiss.” Tissue samples were sent to Ira and after other testing, the results proved that Rita was likely going to have breast cancer. The decision was made to have bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson

Robin asked, “Do you remember that ‘Ah, shoot!’ moment?” To which Rita broke up the seriousness of the situation by saying, “It was really more like ‘Ah, shit!’” It worked. The room was filled with laughter because everyone of the cancer survivors/patients understood Rita’s reaction.

A self-professed doer, Rita added the surgery to her “Must-Do-List.” But four months later when everything was done, it really hit her what she had been through.

Following the surgery, she returned to the play four weeks later and now admits that it was a bit ambitious.

Other highlights of their conversation included:

  • “I love anything that makes me feel happy. I look for project that make people smile.”
  • Life on the road with her band — “I was touring with the band Chicago and the bus broke down right around the Donner Pass. It was about two in the morning. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere.” But they made it to Reno for the performance. Still the bus needed to be replaced and it was in the middle of touring season when availability of buses is limited. They ended giving me Merle Haggard’s bus. He had bought this bus right before he passed away, which I thought was an amazing thing. He was thinking, ‘I’m just gonna keep on going.’ He had a safe in the box. I didn’t have the combo, so I don’t know what was in the safe.”
  • Her parents — “My mom [who died at 93] was a character. She was Greek. My dad, who died when he was 89. They were married 59 years. My mom always said things to me like, ‘You have to be your own best friend;’ ‘I like my own company;’ ‘You know in the beginning when you meet somebody and they say opposites attract? Later it’s opposites attack.’”
  • Her mother’s Alzheimer’s — “It’s (Alzheimer’s) really also a hideous disease. The last full conversation I had with her was really amazing because I went over to her house and I said, ‘Hi, mom, how are you doing?’ And she said, ‘Oh, I’m good.’ I asked if she knew who I was. And she said, ‘My daughter.’ I said, ‘That’s right. Which daughter?’ And she couldn’t answer that. So I said, ‘It’s me, Mom. It’s Rita.’ And she looked at me and said, ‘You’re too good looking to be Rita.’ I took it as a compliment.”
  • Her dad — “He escaped from Bulgaria and worked on a freighter ship to the Philadelphia, where he jumped ship. He worked as a bartender all his life and was supporting his family. His name was Hassan Halilov Ibrahimoff but he became Allan Wilson. My Dad’s name was difficult to spell or pronounce, so when he became a naturalized citizen, the judge said, ‘Do you want to change your name to something a little easier?’ He said, ‘Yeah, to Wilson,’ because that was the name of the street we lived on.’
  • Her birth name — “My original name was Margarita Ibrahimoff.” Robin told her that Margarita has special meaning here in Texas.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding — Having attended lots of plays in New York, she felt she had given “short shrift” to productions on the West Coast and decided to see one in LA. “I opened the LA Times and there was a little square for an ad and it was maybe a two-inch square saying Nia Vardalos in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ I thought that title makes me laugh. I’m going to see this. What’s the worst that can happen? I took my mom, my sister and my nieces and I thought, ‘The worst that can happen is we’ll have a bad show, but a great dinner somewhere.’ We went to see the show and it was great.” She told Nia that she thought it would make a great movie. Month or years later, Nia told Rita that they only had enough money to put an ad in the paper one day, one time and that was the day I saw the title.”
  • Her mom’s reaction to the movie — Imitating her mom, Rita said, ‘They are nothing like us!” Rita laughed saying, “Oh, no, they’re nothing like us. My sister lives next to my mom.
  • Meeting Tom Hanks — They met on the show “Bosom Buddies.” About two years later, they were cast in a movie called “Volunteers.” About a year afterward they started dating.
  • Rita Wilson

    Rita Wilson

    “Sleepless in Seattle” — The “That’s A Chick’s Movie” scene where the characters talk about “An Affair To Remember” was largely improvised. After Rita had done her scene recalling the emotional ending of the movie, Tom Hanks and Victor Garber improvised about “The Dirty Dozen.”

  • Her walk-up song — “Grateful”
  • Drug of choice — It used to be chocolate, but “I’ve been trying to give up sugar lately since Tom has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I also cut down on alcohol because my oncologist recommended five glasses or less of any kind of alcohol per week. He did say, ‘You can have it all in one day.’”
  • Bucket list — Not to have a definitive schedule and be more spontaneous.
  • Unknown — “I speak French and a little bit of Greek. I do ski. Don’t come with me if you want to go slow. I water color just for fun. I took lessons for five years and I learned that you can’t get worse at something, if you do it consistently.”
  • Message for those who are facing cancer — “For people who are not there yet, trust your instinct about anything and trust your gut and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion from your doctor or a second opinion on your pathology. For those who are going through treatment or about to go through treatment, I know it feels like it’s never going to be anything other than what you’re doing and what that life is. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you’re going to be able to see that light sooner than you think. Keep the faith and do things that make you happy while you’re going through it.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon

Practically everyone added Rita Wilson to their Christmas card list after attending the 17th Annual Baylor Health Care System Foundation‘s Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

Rita Wilson and Robin Robinson

Rita Wilson and Robin Robinson

Instead of giving a talk from the podium, she simply had a chat with Foundation President Robin Robinson. At times it felt like the Chantilly Ballroom was a living room with 1,200 buds sitting around.

Aileen Pratt

Aileen Pratt

Gloria Eulich Martindale

Gloria Eulich Martindale

While the post is being completed, check out the faces on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. But if you’re looking for Celebrating Women First Lady Lindalyn Adams, you’re gonna come up short. She was home under the weather and had to miss this one. And in turn Lindalyn was missed.

Lana And Barry Andrews Open Their Home For The Celebrating Women Luncheon Patrons Party

It was as if North Texas’ southern relatives in Harris County had shared their steamy temperatures on Tuesday, October 18. While weather-guessers swore it was downright unnatural for October to host temps in the 80s edging toward the 90s, old time vets laughed the topic woes off. The real chill wouldn’t settle in until Halloween. Luckily Lana and Barry Andrews’ palatial digs in Highland Park were chilled to fend off the humidity and heat for Baylor Health System Care Foundation’s the Celebrating Women patron party.

Robin Robinson, Lana and Barry Andrews

Robin Robinson, Lana and Barry Andrews

Wedged between the Komen Race for the Cure on Saturday, October 15, and Baylor Health Care System Foundation‘s 17th Annual Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 20, the patron party was the bull’s-eye for those fighting breast cancer.

Glenda Kay, Nancy Carter, Gloria Martindale and Di Johnston

Glenda Kay, Nancy Carter, Gloria Martindale and Di Johnston

Nancy Carter was a-glow about their multiple hotel projects. At one point she got a tad bit nostalgic about one of their early projects for the Marriott Suites on Stemmons and the hanging of Bill Marriott’s portrait.

Across the way, Randi Hassell rolled her way from the breakfast room to the mammoth kitchen. The cause for the wheels with a pouch for accessories was foot surgery. “Would crutches be more convenient?” someone asked. Randi’s response: “No way.” And off she rolled.

Randi Hassell

Randi Hassell

Tucker Enthoven and Pam Perella

Tucker Enthoven and Pam Perella

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella was solo since husband Vin Perella was out of town. Now that her chairing duties of the CCB Fashion Show were in the rear view mirror, she was starting to focus on preparations for the 2017 CCB fundraiser.

Robin Robinson, Connie Yates and Joel Allison

Robin Robinson, Connie Yates and Joel Allison

Right on cue, Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Robin Robinson stood in front of the fireplace in the living room and thanked guests and sponsors like Comerica President Curt Farmer and Tom Thumb sweetheart Connie Yates. He then recognized Honorary Co-Chairs Diane and Joel Allison. As Diane stood in a corner of the room, Joel recalled how Lindalyn Adams had approached him years ago to have a luncheon fundraiser to support research and treatments for breast cancer. He went on to stress that all of the fundraising and awareness building was for the good of the patients.

Jill and Bob Smith and Aileen Pratt

Jill and Bob Smith and Aileen Pratt

As most guests stayed put in the Andrews’ cool home, others like Jill and Bob Smith headed for dinner dates at the Dallas Country Club and 2016 Crystal Charity Ball types left for the Gentleman’s Reception at Tracy and Kent Rathbun’s Preston Hollow home.

2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Made Some Tweaks To The POA Resulting In An Over-The-Top Fundraiser With Dwight Yoakam And Toby Keith

The 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball redefined the words Texas Proud on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s. Despite the MIA of Rogers, Hunts, Simmons and all the legendary names of giving, other philanthropists rose to the occasion of fighting cancer with funding.

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

Andrea Weber, DwightYoakmam and Cara French

In spite of Co-Chair Andrea Weber having given birth just two weeks earlier and Co-Chair Cara French having been hit by the making-the-rounds stomach virus, their game plan and committee of 100 rose to the occasion and impressed even the hard-to-impress oldtimers.  

Perhaps it was due to some rearranging of thangs. First of all, the decision was made to have two headliners perform — Dwight Yoakam on the Live Auction Stage and Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. In the past, the evening had centered around one big name performer like Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney on the Main Stage. This move was smart…very smart.

Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam

Another change in POA was having the VIP party take place in South Side Ballroom with the swells having their own private 30-minute concert provided by Dwight. In the meantime, the general admission types grazed on never-ending vittles, checked out the silent auction and rode the Ferris wheel. One Dwight devotee general admission guest was asked if he was disappointed about missing out on the private performance. His response, after he finished chewing a mouthful of food, was, “Heck, no. We’re having too much fun eating!”

At 7 p.m., the doors to the ballroom were open for all to catch the rest of Dwight’s performance.

Okay, so that’s what was going on publicly. Behind the scenes, just before Dwight went on stage, the VVIPs found themselves queuing up among the catering staff for their photo opp with Dwight. Behind the curtain, all was set up for a quick grip-and-grin including a box for the photogs to use. Seems Dwight prefers that arrangement. One onlooker suggested that it might be due to Dwight’s extra weight. Nah!

As the VVIPs lined up, word was passed that Dwight was present. He accommodated one and all except for one photographer’s request: “Could you raise your hat?” Dwight smiled and said, “No. People don’t want to see my eyes.”

But everybody wanted to see Dwight on stage and he did not disappoint one iota. Playing all his hits—from “Little Ways” and “Fast as You” to “Ain’t That Lonely Yet”—Dwight also performed several songs in tribute to the late Merle Haggard. Thanks to his performance, the energy was in “skyrocket drive.” Even the stuffiest types found themselves being part of the mosh pit.

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Hal Brierley, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley, Kevin Garvin, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay and Jim Severson

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

Amy Turner and Stephen Ratchford

It was the perfect warm-up for the live auction that took place almost seconds after Dwight and his crew left the stage. And what a live auction it was.

Hal Brierley hinted that he and wife Diane Brierley just might take a pass on the Smokin’ Chefs’ Silver Anniversary Dinner this year. They had already bought five or six in the past. Diane smiled. Perhaps Hal was doing a fake pass. Indeed! With chefs Kent Rathbun, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay, Jim Severson, Kevin Garvin, David Holben and Richard Chamberlain on stage, the Brierley got into a bidding war with blonde, turquoise-wearing Amy Turner. Kent and the boys were determined to kick the final tab past the six-figure mark. After a brief huddle, the boys agreed to sell two dinners for $75,000 each. Someone recalled that this solution had taken place in past years, with the two dinners hitting the $100,000 mark.

Lisa Cooley

Lisa Cooley

Last year’s dinner co-winner Lisa Cooley had already won her party night earlier in the auction, by picking up the Texas-Sized Party At Gilley’s for 200, complete with Rivers And Rust, for $55,000. When asked how she planned to use the party time, she held up her two hands flashing five fingers on each. Hello? Come again. She’s going to use it for her upcoming 55th birthday.

Gail and Cliff Fischer

Gail and Cliff Fischer

The Bring Out The Big Guns! Package got a standing ovation, thanks to the presentation by Stand 2 Armory team made up of former Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Green Berets and Dallas SWAT, who would provide a day of shooting all types of machine guns for seven people. Said one of the guys, hyping the package: “Nothing says America more than guns, explosions, and curing cancer!” It went for $82,000.

But the big OMG number of the night was dropped by Cliff Fischer. He hit the $100K mark with a Texas-sized smile for the Steak You Claim On A Night With The Boys…. the boys being Troy Aikman, Charles Haley, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Darren Woodson and the steaks being courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Seems that Cliff bought the package last year, held it at his mansion-sweet-mansion, flew in folks from around the country and had one heck of a great time. This time he’s planning on doing it even bigger and better.

The bidding was so impressive that credit card companies were reeling from the numbers coming out of Dallas.

Of course, there was a bargain or two. For instance, Swiss explorer Johan Ernst Nilson told the crowd that the last time his Bhutan Adventure was put up for auction, it went for $170,000. Guess Dallasites aren’t into trekking through “the happiest place on Earth.” It was picked up for a measly $38,000.  

Mary C. Corrigan

Mary C. Corrigan

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Andrea Nayfa, Dawn Greiner, Nancy Gopez and Kris Johnson

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Brook Hortenstine and Paige Westhoff

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

Samantha Wortley and Bina Patel

And that was just a snapshot of the live auction that ran right on schedule thanks to the Baronesses ringing those cowbells and auctioneers Wendy Lambert and Amy Assiter running a tight ship. In fact it finished early, so the folks could get back for seconds of food or hit the casino games that made Choctaw looked like a bingo parlor.

Luke Lange

Luke Lange

Toby Keith and gals in blue

Toby Keith and gals in blue

That was just enough time to amble next door to the bigger-than-a-small-town tent for Toby Keith on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. Behind the scenes, the VVIPs lined up for a grip-and-grin with Toby. Despite the line seeming never to end, Toby howdy-ed everyone and even signed cancer-survivor Luke Lange’s cowboy hat.

Just after the last couple posed with Toby and he was headed to the stage, someone noted a couple of Dallas police standing nearby. Shoot! What was one more photo? Toby liked the idea and so did his crew and so did the policewomen. Picture snapped and Toby was on his way.

Like Dwight, Toby didn’t disappoint. It was as if more than 3,000 had all overdosed on Red Bull.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Still another change in operation this year was the line of security types stoically seated in front of the stage facing the thousands. This arrangement helped prevent a mosh pit from taking place and blocking the view of the peeps sitting at tables upfront.

And speaking of “change,” the CBB abacuses are still counting up the amount that will be put on the check to support cancer research and development.

2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill have their work cut out for them, and they love the challenge. It’s gonna be hard to improve on this one.

For more photos from the night’s fun(d)raising, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

With a few adjustments to the usual POA, the 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball was a blowout hit for the 3,000+ at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15. But then how could you miss with Dwight Yoakam kicking things off and Toby Keith keeping the momentum going? Even Mother Nature played nicely, so the view of downtown Dallas from the top of the Ferris wheel was spectacular.

Megan Flanagan, Jamie Jo Hayes, Karen James, Stacey Relton, Merrick Huckin, Annika Cail and Elizabeth Fischer

Megan Flanagan, Jamie Jo Hayes, Karen James, Stacey Relton, Merrick Huckin, Annika Cail and Elizabeth Fischer

No wonder the live auction rocked with those baronesses exercising those cowbells and revving up the lively auction

While the post is being prepared, check out the baronesses and buckaroos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery