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.

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"

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.

A Gentle Reminder: 2016 Komen Dallas Race For The Cure Starts Setting Up For Saturday’s Fundraiser At NorthPark

Komen Dallas Race for the Cure route map*

Komen Dallas Race for the Cure route map*

If you haven’t made it over to NorthPark for your turquoise jewelry, suede outfit and killer boots for Saturday’s Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s, you might want to hustle big time. Preparations are starting to get underway at NorthPark for the Komen Dallas Race for the Cure that is taking place all around the NorthPark area Saturday morning.

Translation: If your Saturday morning is getting a cinnamon bagel and a cup of java at Panera’s or popping into Barnes and Noble to browse the shelves, you may want to sleep in. Or better yet, you just might want to be part of the thousands raising funds to battle breast cancer. The goal is to provide $1.3M and as of 9:30 a.m., they’re nearly halfway there.

BTW, if you just want to stay at home Saturday morning, why not check out the Cattle Baron’s  auction online? There are literally hundreds of trips, fashions, services and all types of goodies and you won’t even have to get out of your pj’s to bid.

* Graphic courtesy of Komen Dallas Race for the Cure

Baylor University Medical Center At Dallas And Baylor Health Care System Foundation Are Breaking Great News For Women

There’s a whole lot of celebrating going on over at Baylor University Medical Center (BMUC) at Dallas and Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

First, the national media reported this morning that BUMC Dr. Giuliano Testa had surgically transplanted four uteruses in women who want to have children but had been born without a uterus. It was just a year ago that Giuliano told the Baylor Foundation Board about this revolutionary surgery that could change the lives of more than 13,000 women in the U.S. who are born without a uterus. So far, one of the four Baylor transplants is continuing to be successful and more transplants are scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

Giuliano Testa (File photo)

Giuliano Testa (File photo)

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

Second, the Baylor Foundation’s 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole featuring Rita Wilson is sold out!

Joining Presenting Sponsor Tom Thumb are the following sponsors:

  • Monarch Butterfly — Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Texas Swallowtail Butterfly — Lyda Hill, The David B. Miller Family Foundation and Aileen and Jack Pratt Foundation
  • American Lady Butterfly — Lana and Barry Andrews, Anonymous, Nancy Carter, Margo and Bill Goodwin, Karen Faulkner Key, Lock Lord LLP, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Ellen and John McStay and U.S. Trust
  • Patron Party — Comerica Bank
  • VIP Reception — PlainsCapital Bank
  • Valet — Sewell Automotive Companies
  • Luncheon Centerpieces — Sammons Enterprises Inc.
  • Luncheon Invitations — Sidley Austin LLP
  • Luncheon Programs — Allie Beth Allman
  • Luncheon Videos — Jacqueline Fojtasek

But remember — a nice donation might just get you past that “sold-out” situation.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon

Gloria Eulich Martindale and Aileen Pratt (File photo)

Gloria Eulich Martindale and Aileen Pratt (File photo)

According to 2016 Celebrating Women Chair Aileen Pratt and 2106 Celebrating Women Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale,

“We are honored to serve as chairs of the 17th annual Celebrating Women Luncheon, on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole. Year after year, Celebrating Women brings together more than 1,200 supporters to increase awareness and generate funding for breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

“It’s an important cause that hits so close to home for so many women and families in our community. Celebrating Women provides an opportunity for us to join together in support of those who have fought, are fighting, or will fight this dreaded disease.

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

“Each year, we learn something new Baylor Scott and White Health – North Texas is doing, thanks to funds raised through Celebrating Women, to advance the fight. This year, we will highlight Baylor’s efforts in breast cancer genetic testing, counseling and education, and hear personal stories from patients whose lives have been directly affected. After all, it’s those stories that help us connect to our mission.

“Another story we will hear is from our featured speaker, Rita Wilson. Rita is a multi-talented actress, producer, singer and songwriter, and wife of actor, Tom Hanks. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015, she has shared her inspiring story with the world.

“Sponsorships and underwriting opportunities are still available; individual tickets start at $250 and table prices start at $2,500. For more information, call 214.820.4500 or visit the 2016 Celebrating Women website.

“We hope you’ll join us. Together we can find a cure for this disease that affects so many women and families in our community.”

* Photo provided by 2016 Celebrating Women

Brenda West Cockerell Launches “In Grandma’s Garden” With Book Signing At De Boulle

Brenda West Cockerell and Denis and Karen Boulle*

Brenda West Cockerell and Denis and Karen Boulle*

Art-loving Brenda West Cockerell tried her hand at writing with the results being “In Grandma’s Garden.” To mark the occasion, a book signing was held on Saturday, June 4, but not at a bookstore. Nope. Try de Boulle. Here’s a report from the field:

On Saturday, June 4, philanthropist Brenda West Cockerell released her first children’s book entitled “In Grandma’s Garden” with a celebration hosted by Karen and Denis Boulle.

Surrounded by family, friends and beautiful flowers, guests mingled in the cozy parlor of de Boulle Diamond and Jewelry, as the proud author signed copies of her book with personalized notes. The afternoon reception included light bites provided by Food Company, butterfly and dragonfly cookies provided by Kim Crigger Warren, and mimosas and wine from Coquerel Wines, Brenda’s side venture with her husband, Clay Cockerell.

Jessica Peters, Charlies Cockerell, Brenda West Cockerell and Clay Cockerell and Lily Cockerell*

Jessica Peters, Charlies Cockerell, Brenda West Cockerell and Clay Cockerell and Lily Cockerell*

With guests curious as to how the story came to be, Brenda shared that “In Grandma’s Garden” was inspired by her dear friend Holly Horton, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009. Their mutual passion for children and flowers bonded them as friends, and together they dreamed of writing a children’s book. Upon hearing the devastating news, Brenda composed the book in three days. She then enlisted Linda Ólafsdóttir, an Icelandic illustrator, to bring the magical garden to life.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of “In Grandma’s Garden” will benefit breast cancer research and support initiatives through The Beacon Family Foundation, which Brenda founded in 2014 to provide funding for breast cancer and resources for families struggling with loved ones fighting cancer.

“I have done a lot of things in my life, but this is one that I am the most proud of,” Brenda said. “Holly dedicated her life to children, helping them grow much like the flowers in her garden. My hope is that ‘In Grandma’s Garden’ will bring joy to the lives of children who read it, as well as change to those struggling with breast cancer.”

Liana Yarckin and Kristen Sanger*

Liana Yarckin and Kristen Sanger*

Di Johnston and Jill Goldberg*

Di Johnston and Jill Goldberg*

Guests included Lily Cockerell, Jessica Peters and Charlie Cockerell, Emma Boulle, Nick Boulle, Maggie Kipp, Quitman Stephens, Melissa Sherrill, Nancy Gopez, Di Johnston, Jill Goldberg, Ginnie Johnson, DeeDee Lee, Kristi Hoyl and Sydney Hoyl, Pat Ann Dawson, Hal Rose, Sara Lee Gardner, Viktoria Sattar, Liana Yarkin, Kristen Sanger and Lisa Singleton.

* Photo credit: George Fiala

Celebrating Women Letter Signing Provided The Opportunity To Get Letters Out And Meet The Newest Member Of Michal Powell’s Home

The dining room table has become something like crazy Aunt Hattie, who is only seen on holidays. That is unless there’s a non-profit letter signing. Then the table is hit with all hands on deck plus loads of conversations and stacks of letters inviting folks to participate in the upcoming event.

But for the Celebrating Women Luncheon, the letter signing at Michal Powell’s on Thursday, April 7, was a tad bit different. Sure, the dining room table was ground zero with Lindalyn Adams, Ann Dyer, Margo Goodwin, Angie Kadesky, Vinnie Reuben, Barbara Stuart, Kristina Whitcomb and Pam McCallum putting their John Hancocks on letters, but there was activity in other parts of the house, too.

Vinnie Reuben

Vinnie Reuben

Lindalyn Adams and Ann Dyer

Lindalyn Adams and Ann Dyer

Just past the kitchen with the delicious chicken salad was the enclosed veranda, where Michal and Celebrating Women Chair Aileen Pratt learned about the good old days at the State Fair.

Aileen Pratt

Aileen Pratt

Gloria Eulich Martindale

Gloria Eulich Martindale

Thanks to Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen and Michal found out that way back itty bitty painted turtles and chameleons on threads were the take-away from the Fair. That practice ended years ago due to the fact that the paint eventually destroyed the turtles’ shells and the chameleons didn’t fare much better.

And speaking of turtles, Michal revealed that in addition to grand-puppy-sitting Ollie, she had added Houdini, the turtle to the family. It seems that she had literally come across Houdini as he was walking on the Park Cities road. Screeching to a stop, she popped out of her car, halting traffic and took the shelled reptile home.

Michal Powell and Ollie

Michal Powell and Ollie

While the testudine is happily residing in a private garden in the Powells’ backyard, s/he tends to try an explore climbing over the fencing and landing on his/her side. In turn Ollie has been fascinated by Houdini. But whenever Ollie tries to get Houdini to play, the turtle withdraws into his/her shelled home.

But the day was not about Houdini or Ollie or the State Fair. It was about breast cancer conqueror Rita Wilson’s being the featured speaker at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s luncheon on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

As letters were being signed, Susan McSherry reported that Rita would be appearing the next night at The Kessler and she was going to check her out. In addition to having produced “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” being married to Tom Hanks and being an actress herself, Rita is a singer and has just released an album with one of the tracks, “Crying, Crying” inspired from her recent breast cancer battle.

2016 Celebrating Women Plans Revealed Including Rita Wilson And Diane And Joel Allison Plus Sponsorship Opportunities

The couture salon of Neiman Marcus Downtown looked like a high-price trunk show collection on the morning of Tuesday, April 5, with loads of the fashionable fundraising types checking out the clothes. Actually, they were there for the announcement of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon.

Outside the flagship store, Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Jen Huntsberry waited. It was such a beautiful day compared to a year ago when it was damp and rainy. But Jen wasn’t just taking in the rays. She was waiting for Baylor Scott And White Health COO John McWhorter. This was his first time to attend the annual reveal.

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

No sooner had John appeared on NM’s second floor than he was being photographed with 2016 Celebrating Women Chair Aileen Pratt, Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

And then he watched as various photo setups took place including all the past luncheon chairs like Nancy Carter, Christie Carter, Barbara Stuart, Susan McSherry, Margo Goodwin, Carol Seay and Pam Perella and Celebrating Women Luncheon Queen Mother Lindalyn Adams.

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

As deviled eggs made the rounds, the gals and fellas found themselves herded into the Glass House to hear that Tom Hanks’ sweetheart, Rita Wilson, would be the featured speaker on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

As for the honorary co-chairs, this year is gonna be a couple that has been part of the Baylor effort to treat and research breast cancer — Diane and Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Joel Allison, who is making his victory lap to his stepping down on February 1, 2017.

Tickets are on sale now, plus all types of sponsorship opportunities. The following sponsorships have already been snapped up: Presenting Sponsor — Tom Thumb, Patron Party — Comerica Bank, VIP Reception — PlainsCapital Bank, Luncheon Invitation — Sidley Austin LLP and Luncheon Program — Allie Beth Allman.

Celebrating Women Luncheon Had Surprise Announcements And Joan Lunden Sounding The Alarm About TNBC

Of the 1200 gathered in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom for the Celebrating Women Luncheon, the overwhelming majority was female. Well, duh! The event benefited Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s efforts to “to increase awareness and generate funding for breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.”

Robin Robinson, Nancy Carter, Joan Lunden, Beth Layton, Vicky Lattner, Joel Allison

Robin Robinson, Nancy Carter, Joan Lunden, Beth Layton, Vicky Lattner, Joel Allison

But before the ballroom filled, a private meet-and-greet with keynote speaker Joan Lunden took place high atop the Anatole in Ser with downtown Dallas serving as a glorious backdrop. Unlike years past when the pre-luncheon took place in the Wedgwood Room, this one had levels and tables for guests like Margo Goodwin, Di Johnston, Emilynn Wilson, Tucean Webb, Caren Kline, Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robyn Conlon, Pam Perella, Lyda Hill, Connie Yates and Isabell Novakov to wait in line for their photo opp with Joan and/or just have a cup of coffee and Danish.

Margo Goodwin, Caren Kline, Barbara Stuart, Robyn Conlon and Pam Perella

Margo Goodwin, Caren Kline, Barbara Stuart, Robyn Conlon and Pam Perella

Celebrating Women dance performance

Celebrating Women dance performance

All too soon, the group moved to the Chantilly Ballroom for the fundraising lunch. Following  a dance performance, Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter with her underwriting Co-Chairs Beth Layton and Vicky Lattner by her side told why she had taken on the responsibility of putting the event together. It was her two friends/breast cancer survivors Sue Porter and Debbie Snell, who co-chaired the luncheon years ago. Upon learning their stories and involvement and treatment at Baylor, Nancy decided that she had to raise funds and awareness.

Heather Washburne, Al Hill Jr and Elisa Summers

Heather Washburne, Al Hill Jr and Elisa Summers

Jim and Mary Lentz, Jim Joyner and Alan Miller

Jim and Mary Lentz, Jim Joyner and Alan Miller

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Kenny and Lisa Troutt

Despite the perception of breast cancer as a “woman’s disease,” there was a strong and influential contingent of men at the tables, including Toyota’s Jim Lentz with his wife Mary Lentz, Hill family patriarch Al Hill Jr. with daughter Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne, Honorary Co-Chair Kenny Troutt with wife/Honorary Co-Chair Lisa Troutt and NM VP Kevin Hurst, who heard former “Good Morning America’s” Joan Lunden describe the past year of battling breast cancer and not just any old breast cancer. It was the Isis of breast cancers — triple-negative breast cancer (aka TNBC). Not only is it an extremely aggressive cancer, but it is not easily detectable due to breast density and not responsive to the traditional treatments.

Time and time again following the luncheon, even the most savvy women ‘fessed up they had no idea that breast density posed a problem for diagnosing this killer cancer.

Evidently, Joan’s talk was more than heard. It made a profound impact on both the women and the men. That night at a gathering of influencers, Kevin was heard describing the evils of the disease to a woman who hadn’t attended the lunch.

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

Another highlight of the luncheon was the announcement of $1.25M by the Andy Horner family and the men and women of Premier Designs to support Hope Lodge on Baylor’s campus. As Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson revealed that gift that arrived the day before, he pointed to a table of women just to the left of the stage. Were they the benefactors? No, they were Premier Designs employees who had conquered breast cancer, and they admitted they were proud and surprised about the announcement.

Robin also remembered a dear friend of the Baylor Foundation  — AT&T’s Cathy Coughlin, who spearheaded the campaign against texting while driving. She also served as the most successful Celebrating Women corporate underwriting chair in 2011. The 57-year-old marketing executive died of pancreatic cancer this past April. In her honor, AT&T made a donation to Celebrating Women.

Joan Lunden

Joan Lunden

BTW, Joan was a knockout. The daughter of a cancer surgeon who died in an airplane crash when Joan was just a youngster, she had picked up the banner and is carrying on inspired by her father and her own journey.

Need proof? Get her book.

Funny aside: When her co-author had her mammogram, she asked the clinician about her breast density. The exasperated staffer said, “Ever since Joan Lunden wrote about breast density, every woman wants to know her breast density.”

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry (File photo)

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry (File photo)

BTW, it was just two years ago that Bruce Selkirk established the Amy T. Selkirk Fund at Baylor in the name of his late wife Amy Selkirk, who was diagnosed with TNBC. The fund was to support a breast cancer vaccine trail led by Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, the Celebrating Women Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research at Baylor, and Dr. Karolina Palucka, a researcher at Baylor Institute for Immunology Research.” It’s already paying off for Baylor clinical trial patients like Mary Morton and Deanna Bernhagen, who are participating in the current trial. Amy may have been a victim of TNBC, but thanks to her husband the crusade is being carried on inspired by her.

Round Robin October 14: Art In Bloom International Announcement Party And Celebrating Women Patron Party

When did Wednesday become the new Thursday? That was the question being bounced around as the evening of Wednesday, October 14, was buzzing with activities.

Art In Bloom International Announcement Party

Avant Garden blossoms

Avant Garden blossoms

Just above Bistro 31 and to the right in Highland Park Village is Avant Garden. As soon as the door opened, the fragrance of roses and hydrangeas welcomed guests for the Art in Bloom announcement party.

Oliver Meslay and Barbara Daseke

Oliver Meslay and Barbara Daseke

One of the first announcements made by AIB Chair Barbara Daseke was this year’s Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser will be “Art In Bloom International.” The reason is because the presentation will be made by Gardens Advisor to Historic Royal Palaces Dr. Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who is both a gardener and historian with “projects in Britain and abroad, many with a conservation slant.”

Second announcement was the table design competition for guests that will be judged by Todd with first prize being “a trip to London with a private tour of gardens at Kensington Palace Gardens.”

The honoree of this year’s luncheon will be the DMA’s Oliver Meslay. Barbara also revealed that Linda Ivy (she was out of town) would be the honorary chair for the Monday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art. Barbara Durham has taken on the underwriting duties and tickets are available for purchase now!

Celebrating Women Patron Party

Just blocks away in University Park’s Volk Estates, the soccer kids and moms were jamming the streets around Goar Park. Just beyond the kids playing, Ola and Randall Fojtasek’s marvelous home was creating its own traffic jam as guests arrived for the Celebrating Women patron party on the eve of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

It’s amazing how narrow ordinary streets can become when there are two SUV’s parked on both sides of the street.

Beth Layton, Vicky Lattner, Nancy Carter and Joel Allison

Beth Layton, Vicky Lattner, Nancy Carter and Joel Allison

Claude and Emilynn Wilson

Claude and Emilynn Wilson

Nancy Carter and Robin Robinson

Nancy Carter and Robin Robinson

Nevertheless, guests kept coming like Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter, Underwriting Co-Chairs Beth Layton and Vicky Lattner, Baylor Health Care System/Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Joel Allison, Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson, Tiffany Divis, Jerry Joyner, Lindayln Adams, Susan McSherry and Emilynn and Claude Wilson, who were heading to the Tyler Rose Festival for the weekend.

Fojasek’s gardens

Fojasek’s gardens

Dining table

Dining table

Despite the 90-degree temperatures, the Fojasek’s beautifully landscaped grounds with its over-sized fountain and pool were just too wonderful. Of course, the musicians on the elevated terrace with vine-covered pergola and the nearby outdoor bar provided a great reason to stroll outside.

For those inside, the entry was brimming with guests and the dining room table was filled with bite-able goodies courtesy of Cassandra’s Fine Catering.

Luncheon speaker Joan Lunden arrived halfway through the reception after being picked up at the airport. As a thank you, each guest discovered a copy of Joan’s latest book, “Had I Known” in their cars thanks to Gretchen Minyard Williams.

A Gentle Reminder: Komen Dallas Race For The Cure

Get your shopping done early Friday at NorthPark. Why? The NP crew will be setting up for the 16,000 expected for Saturday’s Komen Dallas Race For The Cure.

There are gonna be street closures and all types of stuff leading up to Saturday morning when folks walk and run to raise funds for breast cancer research and developments.

So, what’s a little shopping inconvenience when it could mean that dollars resulting in cancer battling are raised?

Ah, shoot! Why not walk and shop? The weather is gonna be this side of perfect and you just might be saving a life…and it may be your own.

And why not make that appointment for your mammogram?

Celebrating Women Luncheon’s Joan Lunden Has A New Look And A New Book Thanks To Her Victory Over Breast Cancer

It’s been a little over a year since former “Good Morning America” host Joan Lunden was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like many who have battled the disease, Joan lost her trademark blonde hair. Instead of hiding, she became a warrior sharing her battle with the rest of the world by being the cover girl of People Magazine without her wig.

In addition to recently announcing she was in total remission, Joan also became a grandmamma for a second time when her oldest daughter Jamie Krauss Hess gave birth to a baby boy — Mason Levi Hess — on Wednesday, September 9, and her blonde hair has grown back.

Leave it to Joan to adapt a new look with her fresh thatch of follicles. She describes it as both looking like a Chia pet and a rock star.

You might want to check the grandbaby and Joan’s new look in People Magazine. Or, better yet, why not get a first-hand look when Joan is the featured speaker at the Celebrating Women Luncheon at Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 15, to raise funds to fight breast cancer.

And don’t forget to grab a copy of Joan’s book, “Had I Known,” that just hit bookstores today. And she’s “launched the streaming network Alive, which is dedicated to breast cancer and overall women’s health and wellness.” Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter will be one of the first in line to get her copy.

JUST IN: NorthPark Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary Today With The Announcement Of NorthPark50: Fifty Years Of Giving

Just before noon today, NorthPark Center‘s Nancy Nasher addressed more than 225 people representing 50 nonprofits, friends and media from a stage set up in NorthPark’s NorthCourt. She told how at that moment 50 years ago, she and her sisters were part of the festivities when her parents, the late Patsy and Ray Nasher, officially opened NorthPark.

Nancy recalled how she wore a dress that her mother had designed for her.

David Haemisegger

David Haemisegger

With husband/business partner David Haemisegger sitting on the front row smiling, Nancy announced that in celebration of NP’s 50th anniversary, they had created NorthPark50: Fifty Years of Giving.

Fifty Years of Giving*

Fifty Years of Giving*

The 50-day program will allow “specific gifts to be announced in the days and weeks ahead in order to shine light on their individual missions and inspire others to embrace a spirit of philanthropy. The announcement of the gifts will be made through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NorthPark50.”

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher with the 50 nonprofits

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher with the 50 nonprofits

The lucky 50 nonprofits are AT&T Performing Arts Center, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Irving, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Bookmarks – A Dallas Public Library, Business Council for the Arts, Cancer Blows, CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources and Education), Catch Up & Read, Children’s Cranifocial Association, Children’s Health, Community Homes for Adults Inc. (CHAI), Creative Arts Center of Dallas, Crow Collection of Asian Art, The Crystal Charity Ball, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Dallas Ballet Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas CASA, Dallas Center for Architecture, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Theater enter, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas, The Family Place, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Heroes on the Water, Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas, Junior League of Dallas, KERA, Nasher Sculpture Center, North Texas Food Bank, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (Sam’s Day), Parkinson Voice Project, Preservation Dallas, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Salesmanship Club of Dallas, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, Share Housing Center Inc, SPCA of Texas, Susan G. Komen Dallas County, TACA, TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Two x Two for AIDs and Art, University of North Texas – Texas Fashion Collection, Uplift Education and Vogel Alcove.

Once again, the NorthPark family has found a new way to give back to the community’s nonprofits. Happy anniversary, NorthPark.

PS — You might to also send a happy birthday wish to Nancy Thursday.

* Graphic provided by NorthPark

Update On Celebrating Women’s Keynote Speaker Joan Lunden’s Battle With Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Joan Lunden*

Joan Lunden*

Celebrating Women 2015 Chair Nancy Carter just got an update on keynote speaker Joan Lunden for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser on Thursday, October 15. Diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in June 2014, Joan underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, a lumpectomy and two blood transfusions.

Now the former “Good Morning America” host reports that her doctors have told her that she is cancer free.

It’s because of fund-supported research and developments that breast cancer is being diagnosed and treated sooner and sooner.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health 
Care System Foundation

Cattle Baron’s Ball Members And Carolina Herrera Fashions Got Together For Lunch

Cattle Baron's Ball new members luncheon at Carolina Herrera salon

Cattle Baron’s Ball new members luncheon at Carolina Herrera salon

The Cattle Baron’s Ball gals arrived at the Herrera salon in Highland Park Village on Monday, April 27. They had expected a chat and checkout of fashions. Instead they discovered that Herrera’s Melinda Rathke had arranged a showing of the fashions and luncheon.

Oh, leave it to Herrera! Always so much more than one expects.

Tia Wynne and Mary Martha Pickens

Tia Wynne and Mary Martha Pickens

As the CBB hierarchy giggled, these ladies were ogling the string bikinis as well as the full-length ball gowns. CBB co-chair Mary Martha Pickens had been at a Crystal Charity Ball luncheon at Herrera when the “string bikini” was mentioned to blushes and giggles. She immediately realized that the CBB-ers were the prime audience for such two-piecers.

Hey, when you have the long legs like the CBB-ers, it’s a natural fit.

New members (Lisa Bhattacharya, Annika Cail, Adriane Crosland, Christine Danuser, Lora Farris, Elizabeth Fischer, Abby Gregory, Jamie Jo Hayes, Merrick Huckin, Karen James, Natalie Fogiel Moon, Meghann O’Leary, Bina Palnitkar Patel, Laura Reeder, Lisa Hadow Shirley, Lauren Snyder and Nikki Webb) were introduced and past chairs (Skye Brewer, Tanya Foster, Mary Gill, Kristi Hoyl, Olivia Kearney and Jill Tananbaum) were applauded, too.

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

Carolina Herrera fashions

But all was not chatting, giggling and clapping. The real purpose of the CBB mission occurred when Melinda admitted that when talks about the event had taken place, Melinda had never had cancer touch her family. Then less than six weeks ago, Melinda’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer.

This disease is a very democratic one. It doesn’t discriminate one iota regarding of race, creed, color or wealth. It needs to be history for once and all.

For more photos or CBB-ers and Herrera fashions, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Celebrating Women Luncheon Letter Signing Filled Robyn’s Nest

While the honeybees were checking out the wisteria and flowers blooming all over town, gals were heading to Robyn Conlon’s home sweet home the morning of Tuesday, April 7. No, it wasn’t for Crystal Charity Ball. It was for 2015 Celebrating Women Luncheon.

As Robyn was eating a Jenny Craig omelet (claims she gained a pound during her CCB tenure) with her trusty McDonald’s Diet Coke, hands were personalizing letters for the fundraiser to battle breast cancer at Baylor Health Care System.

This year’s luncheon on Thursday, October 15, at the Anatole will featured breast cancer survivor/former “Good Morning America” co-host Joan Lunden.

But on this day Chair Nancy Carter was the main draw. She’s earned so many points by helping others that, of course, folks were going to pitch in.

Barbara Stuart, Melissa Macatee and Pat McEvoy

Barbara Stuart, Melissa Macatee and Pat McEvoy

Letter signing is a bit like a quilting bee. It brings people together for a purpose. In this case, it separates a typical form letter from one that is personalized with a note from a friend. And for this luncheon, it means each signer must go through hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of letters.

Vinnie Reuben

Vinnie Reuben

Debbie Oates

Debbie Oates

Lindalyn Adams

Lindalyn Adams

In the dining room, Lindalyn Adams, Pat McEvoy, Barbara Stuart, Melissa Macatee, Kristina Whitcomb, Vinnie Reuben, Debbie Oates and Tiffany Divis chatted and signed letters. In the breakfast nook, it was Di Johnston and Pam Busbee.

Just as the clock ticked toward noon, Underwriting Co-Chair Beth Layton brought in lunch. No, it was not a catered affair a la Al’s or Cafe Pacific. Think egg salad, pimento cheese, chicken salad and ham-and-cheese sandwiches with chips.

Lunch

Lunch

Check your mailboxes in the days ahead. If the letter isn’t there pretty soon, then let the Baylor team know. They’ll get it to you ASAP.

Past Chairs And Friends Gathered At Neiman’s Downtown For Celebrating Women Luncheon Announcement

For the early birds, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was at SMU for a breakfast benefiting CitySquare on Thursday, March 19. Later in the morning, Nancy Carter gathered the supporters of the 16th Annual Celebrating Women Luncheon together in the Neiman Marcus Downtown couture salon to learn about plans for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser.

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison

But before the news was revealed, the past chairs got together for a group photo. These women had all been touched by the disease either firsthand or through a loved one.

From the left (back ro): Nancy Carter, Pam Perella, Sarah Losinger, Christie Carter, Fredye Factor, Debbie Oates, Margot Godwin and Lisa Longino; (front row) Lindalyn Adams and Barbara Stuart

From the left (back ro): Nancy Carter, Pam Perella, Sarah Losinger, Christie Carter, Fredye Factor, Debbie Oates, Margo Godwin and Lisa Longino; (front row) Lindalyn Adams and Barbara Stuart

After the photo, Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson escorted Celebrating Women mother hen Lindalyn Adams to the “glass house” for the presentation.

Jeff Byron and Lindalyn Adams

Jeff Byron and Lindalyn Adams

Robin welcomed the crowd and introduced NM Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron, who told how this event was the result of a lunch with Lindalyn, Nancy, NM PR Marjon Henderson and Baylor Foundation’s Susan McSherry and Christina Goodwin.

As he finished his welcome and Robin returned to the podium and suggested that the store’s parking lot would be just the perfect size for the Baylor Mobile Mammography van. Without missing a beat, Jeff said that was an idea to pursue and did what any leader would do. He delegated the project to Marjon.

Nancy then announced the luncheon plans. It will be held on Thursday, October 15, at the Hilton Anatole with journalist/author/breast-cancer survivor Joan Lunden as the keynote speaker. For underwriting, Nancy has tapped Vicky Lattner and Beth Layton.

2015 Celebrating Women Luncheon Website Is Up And Running

Joan Lunden*

Joan Lunden*

2015 Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter along with her Underwriting Co-Chairs Vicky Lattner and Beth Layton have just revealed that the website for the Baylor Health Care Foundation’s fundraiser is up and ready for business.

The Thursday, October 15, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole will have journalist/author/mom/breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden as the keynote speaker.

The website has all the deets including ticket/sponsorship information.

* Photo provided 
by 2015 Celebrating 
Women Luncheon

JUST IN: Former “Good Morning America” Host/Breast Cancer “Warrior” Joan Lunden To Headline Celebrating Women Luncheon

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margot Goodwin and Joel Allison

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margot Goodwin and Joel Allison

Neiman Marcus Downtown’s couture salon was filled with gals to learn the plans for the Celebrating Women luncheon fundraiser from Chair Nancy Carter. On the heels of last year’s “Good Morning America” news anchor Amy Robach, another “Good Morning America” gal is going to headline the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser to fight breast cancer.

No, it’s not a current member of the team. The speaker will be Joan Lunden, who co-hosted the ABC wake-up show from 1980-1997.

In addition to being front and center for such events as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics and Charles’ and Diana’s wedding and interviewing numerous first families, she also raised a family including seven children.

Just this past June the 63-year-old blonde journalist/author/entrepreneur returned to “Good Morning America” to reveal that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She became a warrior in the battle enduring chemo and surgery. Just days after her 64th birthday in September, she appeared on the cover of People Magazine after having shaved her head.

More deets to follow, but did want you to know so you can lock down that date  Thursday, October 15, at the Hilton Anatole.

MySweetWishList: My Breast Choice

According to author and My Breast Choice President and Founder Diane Taheri,

Diane Taheri*

Diane Taheri*

“We need tattoo equipment. And ink too. Wondering why? What if you lost your nipples to cancer?  We have started a new non-profit called My Breast Choice Inc. As a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to share with women how they can go about making decisions for the best surgical path to fit them. I analyzed the surgeries available and I’m very happy with the path I chose. I also provide information on alternative treatments they can choose from to alleviate side effects. Many of the drugs taken during and after treatment cause side effects, like hot flashes and other uncomfortable things.

Nipple November*

Nipple November*

“I have solutions to help with that. It’s all about making the journey easier. But the frosting on the cake is, when you have your breasts and nipples reconstructed, they need to be tattooed to look natural. Some insurance plans do not cover this. So we are planning to provide free nipple tattoos to women who cannot afford it or their insurance won’t cover it.

“But we have a problem…..we have no equipment. We have a licensed, trained medical aesthetic tattoo artist, but no equipment. That is our dilemma. It would be great if our wish would come true. It is estimated the equipment, supplies and a set of inks would run around $1,000.”

Diane Taheri, author and My Breast Choice President and Founder

* Photo and graphic provided by My Breast Choice Inc.

Celebrating Women Luncheoners Celebrate Surprise $1M Gift With Standing O’s For Amy Robach And Lindalyn Adams

Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson was nursing a secret Friday, October 24. He was busting to share the news, but he had to wait until the Celebrating Women Luncheon.

Celebrating Women

Celebrating Women

While luncheon patrons were starting to arrive for the VIP reception in the Wedgwood Room, mic checks were being held in the Chantilly Ballroom. Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Longino and Daffan Nettle were being asked if they were able to read the teleprompters. Like everything in the days, weeks and months beforehand, all was fine and dandy.

Among the crowd was a dazzling blonde with beautiful blue eyes in a hot pink dress. It was the keynote speaker/ Good Morning America’s Amy Robach, who had flown in the night before. It was hard to imagine looking at her that it had been just a year and 23 days ago that her seemingly perfect life that been turned upside down. But now she was heading to the Wedgwood Room to meet with others touched by breast cancer.

Lindalyn Adams, Fredye Factor and Christie Carter

Lindalyn Adams, Fredye Factor and Christie Carter (Scott Pharr in the background)

While Amy was handling the meet-and-greet beautifully at one end of the room, a second photo session developed at the other end. It all started when Anatole Catering Manager Scott Pharr asked to have his photo taken with Lindalyn Adams, the Foundation’s sweetheart and the one who years ago suggested the event to raise funds to battle breast cancer to Baylor Health Care System CEO Joel Allison. Then another person wanted their picture taken with Lindalyn and another and another and another.

Melissa Macatee, Robin Robinson and Barbara Stuart

Melissa Macatee, Robin Robinson and Barbara Stuart

In the meantime, others like Barbara Stuart, Melissa Macatee, Christie Carter, Fredye Factor, Angie Kadesky, Dian Malouf, Laura Stockdale, Lydia Novakov, Isabell Novakov, Carol Seay, Nancy Carter, Anne Reeder, Emilynn Wilson, Virginia Chandler Dyke and Luncheon Underwriting Chair Maggie Kipp, were just plain catching up. A couple wondered if there would be no-shows due to the funerals of Bunker Hunt and Pat McEvoy Sr. taking place that morning.

Just as the time was approaching for the ballroom doors to open for guests, a short presentation was made with Robin, Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates and Joel. Just as quickly, the room emptied with all heading to join the 1,200 in the ballroom.

Were there empty tables? No. It seems that the guests, who had attended the funerals, managed to make it to the luncheon, too, without missing the surprises of the day and a talk by Amy that had tears welling up throughout the room.

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

First the surprises. Following a welcome and acknowledgments by Lisa, Daffan and Joel, Robin just couldn’t contain his secret any longer. He revealed that just the day before he had received a surprise email from Erich Spangenberger, who wanted to pledge a $1M gift in honor of his wife Audrey. In his email, Erich wrote, “Even though it was almost 15 years ago, I wake up all the time from a dream, where I remember how sick Audrey was and that helpless feeling of just praying that she would last just another couple of days. There was not a good time in our lives and of all the things I’ve faced in my life this was by far the most difficult…. I hope that anything we can do will bring some comfort and hope to the women and families who have to endure this miserable experience. It is our honor to do so.”

Joel Allison

Joel Allison

Then it was Joel’s turn to reveal a surprise. He started off by saying, “No one can say, ‘No” to Lindalyn.” Then a video tribute commenced followed by Lisa and Daffan presenting a book with notes from all the past luncheon chairs and committee members to Lindalyn. Seated at the front row table with Amy, it was obvious from the expression on Lindalyn’s face that it had caught her totally off guard. She hardly had time to recover, when the mass of guests rose to their feet to applaud the 84-year-young breast cancer survivor. If she was blown away by the folks wanting to have their photos taken with her in the reception, she was in tears by this act.

Amy Robach, Lindalyn Adams, Daffan Nettle and Lisa Longino

Amy Robach, Lindalyn Adams, Daffan Nettle and Lisa Longino

Robin held up a small battery-operated tea light like the ones at each of the guest’s place. The lights in the room be dimmed. He asked for any who had lost someone to breast cancer to turn on their candle. Throughout the room tiny light appeared. Then he requested that all who had survived breast cancer turn on their candles, too. More beams of light appeared. Then co-survivors were asked to turn on their tea lights. Finally, he asked anyone who knew someone touched by breast cancer to turn their candles on. With that the ballroom looked like a universe of pink stars.

Following lunch (savory butternut squash bisque en croute; grilled breast of chicken with assorted Fall greens, red wine poached pear, pecan crusted goat cheese wafer, fresh fava beans and petite tomatoes with champagne vinaigrette; spicy cheese straw; and chocolate dipped cheesecake with berries), Robin presented the Circle of Care Award to Connie on behalf of Tom Thumb, that has been the presenting sponsor of the luncheon for that past 10 years. Connie’s own sister “went to heaven” five years ago because of breast cancer.

Amy Robach

Amy Robach

It then time for Amy to speak. Ever since Rob Lowe spoke at the luncheon a couple of years ago, there’s been a daunting challenge to match the “Wow!” factor. He was Hollywood cool, charming and had lost his mother and grandmother to breast cancer. Like Rob, Amy had incredible looks and was charming. But she had only recently encountered breast cancer firsthand. In fact, it was just 51 weeks ago that she had been diagnosed with the disease. True, her GMA buddy Robin Roberts had battled the disease, but until a producer suggested that she had a mammogram in a mamo-van live on air in Times Square, she’d never even had a mammogram. In fact, she thought the pitch to be rather ridiculous. What next? A pap smear? But she had absolutely no family history of breast cancer and “to be totally frank, I thought I was the last person in the world who could have breast cancer.”

When she sought advice from Robin, Roberts said, “Oh, you’re the one they asked?” Then Robin persuaded Amy to do it, if for no other reason than it might get another woman to have a lifesaving mammogram. She added that 80% of breast cancer patients have no family history. Amy was convinced.

So, she did her very first mammogram with cameras showing the exam to millions of people. Amy thought all was fine and the whole issue was behind her. There was a call to go over some questions and they wanted to take another look. Even then she thought it was just a “oops” in the film or just a calcium deposit. At this point, she “just annoyed.”

On October 30, she entered NYU for an 11:15 a.m. appointment thinking she would “be in and out.” After all she had to be at work at 1 p.m. — “I never made it to work that day.”

Amy Robach

Amy Robach

One after another image was taken. She was starting to get nervous but still didn’t think this could be cancer. Then they took a sonogram and she saw a mass in her right breast. It was followed by a biopsy. The radiologist said they would have the result in five to ten minutes and then asked if she had anyone who could be with her. Her response was, “I don’t have anybody.” Her family lived in another state and her husband, Andrew Shue was traveling. She put Andrew on the speakerphone. The radiologist said, “Mr. Shue, I need to ask you a question before I give you the results — “Are you driving?” It was that question that slapped Amy in the face that her life was changing dramatically. She had two malignant tumors in her breast that had spread to her lymph nodes. Like so many in the ballroom, she was overwhelmed with fear, confusion and anger.

She called her mom. With her voice quivering, Amy admitted that it was the hardest call she’d ever made. Her mother’s response was just two words — “We’re coming.”

Two weeks later she went public with her situation and leaned back in her chair saying, “Well, that’s over.” Robin said, “No, it’s just begun.”

She underwent a double mastectomy, the removal of her lymph nodes and chemo.

Ironically, it was Amy, who had replaced Robin on GMA while Roberts underwent treatments for cancer. When Amy arrived for that first chemo treatment, there was Roberts in the waiting room, who said, “I heard you’re sitting in my chair again.” Then she escorted Amy to the same chemo chair where she had had her treatments.

Now that’s she finished the chemo and the surgeries, she’s figuring out how to live. Cancer made her realize her own vulnerability. As her “husband likes to say, ‘Don’t die before you die.’”

She recalled a recent plane ride where she was seated next to a woman, whom she hadn’t seen in years. The woman started complaining about being in her 50’s and complaining about all of her wrinkles. “A year ago, I would have been commiserating and it was so interesting that I’m a completely, completely different person than I was a year ago. The first thought that ‘God, I hope I have wrinkles. I hope I see my 50’s and 60’s and 70’s.’ I now look at wrinkles as a badge of honor. And it’s just a completely different way of looking at life.”

Her oncologist has asked breast cancer survivors, “If I took away your cancer experience, would you go back?” According to Amy, “Not a single one of them would take you up on the idea. Because the people they became, the people they emerged were far superior to anything they would have been, if it hadn’t gone through this… I never knew how beautiful life was until I had cancer.”

Amy’s delivery was remarkable in its sincerity and brutal honesty resulting in a kindred spirit and a standing ovation. In the years ahead, the challenge will be to top Amy Robach.