Three-Way Collision Of Walking/Running Fundraisers Slated For October 28 With Two Benefiting Breast Cancer Research

There’s gonna be a heck of lot of walking in North Texas on Saturday, October 28. That morning there will three separate walks/run raising funds for nonprofits.

At 8 a.m. Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 2017 Healthy Harvest Fun Walk/5K Run and Expo will be taking place at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center to raise money to “support programs and initiatives for those who suffer from diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

The other two events seem to be a bit of fundraising head-on collision. They’re both taking place to raise funds to battle breast cancer. At NorthPark the annual Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure Dallas County will start at 8 a.m., while across town the National Cancer Society’s Making Strides of North Texas will walk take place at Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge with a start time of 8:15 a.m.

Let’s hope the weather holds out all these walking, running and fundraising.

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

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

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

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

Mary Lessmann, Gigi Hill Lancaster and Meredith Land

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

Elizabeth Robertson, Jim and Alinda Wikert and Sharon McCutchin

Jill Smith, Lindalyn Adams and Randi Halsell

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

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

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

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

Carlos Arteaga

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

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

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

Giuliana Rancic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Double Sold-Out Alert!: Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon And Annual Grand Rounds Golf Tournament

Kicking off October is a trifecta of good news items about healthcare and fund raising. First, deaths resulting from breast cancer have dropped by almost 40% in the U.S.

Second, Celebrating Women’s Chair Tucker Enthoven and her Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek just sent word that the Thursday, October 26, fundraiser for Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s new research and treatment options for women fighting breast cancer is sold out.

Leonard and Peggy Riggs

Thanks to the popularity of the annual luncheon, Tucker’s committee of 160, Honorary Co-Chairs Peggy and Dr. Leonard Riggs Jr., and having Jamie Lee Curtis as keynote speaker, 1,300 have signed up to lunch and listen at the Hilton Anatole. Thanks to this type of funding, the drop in death rates will continue. The more funding, the faster that drop will take place.

BTW, the Baylor Foundation team also reports that their 16th Annual Grand Rounds Golf Tournament that’s being held at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, October 23 is also sold out!

If you were one of the early birds and got your spot reserved, congrats. If not, you can always resort to begging with check in hand. And if that doesn’t work, why not sign up for the 2017 Health Harvest Fun Walk/5K Run and Expo on Saturday, October 28?

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon

According to Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven and Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek,

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven (File photo)

Celebrating Women is the premier breast cancer luncheon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Every year, it brings together more than 1,200 supporters to increase awareness and generate funding for breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. Together, we can find a cure for this disease that affects so many women and families in our community.

Over the past 17 years, Celebrating Women donors have raised more than $28 million for the fight against breast cancer. These donations provide the women and men who pass through our doors access to advanced diagnostic equipment, innovative clinical research, and most importantly, safe, quality, compassionate care.

In the past 17 years, gifts to Celebrating Women have had an impact in four areas:

CAPITAL AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Funded a new, technologically advanced, mobile mammography van with the ability to screen more than 5,500 women each year at their place of business, in small communities and school districts throughout the Metroplex.
  • Advanced digital technology for breast cancer screening, diagnosis and interventional procedures including digital mammography, Positron Emission Mammography and MRI breast biopsy.

MEDICAL EDUCATION

  • Funded a Celebrating Women Oncology Nurse Educator to develop ongoing education, training and certification for oncology nurses to meet the changing and specialized needs of cancer patients.
  • Created a Celebrating Women Education Fund. We are making investments today to secure the future health of our daughters and granddaughters by training medical leaders with the ability to treat, and maybe even cure, breast cancer.

PATIENT-CENTERED PROGRAMS

  • Expanded the genetics counseling program in order to empower patients with the information they need to better evaluate their treatment options, earlier than ever before. These advances will allow physicians and scientists to develop more targeted treatments and save more lives.
  • Funded a patient navigation program to assist breast cancer patients with their emotional and educational needs as well as with coordinating their care throughout their journey. Since 2008, this program has provided services to more than 4,000 breast cancer patients.
  • Increased access to breast cancer services through the Gift of Life Fund, raising nearly $1.5 million for services to women throughout the region who could not afford to pay.

RESEARCH

  • Funded innovative work to find a cure. Baylor is currently involved in several research studies to determine better ways to diagnose and treat breast cancer, including a gene sequencing trial that could result in more personalized therapies and treatment options for patients.
  • Created a Celebrating Women Chair in Breast Cancer Research. The chair holder developed a pilot study to test the efficacy of a vaccine on triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease.

Make plans to join us on Thursday, October 26, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel with featured speaker Jamie Lee Curtis.  Visit the Celebrating Women website for tickets and sponsorship information.

Tucker Enthoven’s Dinner Table Was Serving Up Invitations For Celebrating Women Fundraiser With Jamie Lee Curtis

Tucker Enthoven

Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven was getting ready to head to Spain for a bicycling trip on Tuesday, June 20. But before she left for the other side of the pond, she rallied the troops at her Preston Hollow “cottage” to address invitations for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser on Thursday, October 26, at the Hilton Anatole to fight breast cancer.

The Enthoven dinner table

Around the table with pens in hand were outgoing Tucker’s mom Julie Ford, Baylor Foundation Board Chair Margo Goodwin, Pat McEvoy, Angie Kadesky, Suzy Gekiere, Marie Dean, Ann Dyer, Underwriting Chair Ola Fojasek‘s mother Jacqueline Fojtasek (Ola was out of town and Jacqueline was subbing in) and Barbara Stuart. On the floor was 15-year-old Australian Shepherd Stealer. He may have looked a bit long-in-the-tooth, but thanks to his titanium back leg, he was amazingly spry and greeting the ladies.

Margo Goodwin

Pat McEvoy

When asked how the fundraising efforts going, Tucker didn’t hesitate. It was right on target.

Perhaps it was the fact that the keynote speaker was Jamie Lee Curtis. With all the recent headlines about Carrie Fisher’s sad demise, fellow Hollywood urchin Jamie had taken a totally different road successfully battling drugs and alcohol, as well as the threat of breast cancer at the age of 40.

True Carrie had scored hits with “Star Wars” and writing, but Jamie had cut her own praise with “Trading Places,” “Halloween,” “Perfect,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “True Lies” and “Freaky Friday,” plus her 12 children’s books, including New York Times best seller “Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day.”

In the past 17 years,  the Celebrating Women Luncheon has raised more than $28M “to help Baylor Scott And White fight breast cancer in North Texas.”

Blue butterfly stamps

The invitations were scheduled to drop in the snail mail the week of August 14. They’ll be easy to spot thanks to the blue butterfly stamps. If you haven’t gotten yours, don’t pout or stew. Just check in here and let them know you want your seat pronto. And if you’re interested in a sponsorship, you’d better hustle. The sponsorships for the invitations, centerpieces, programs and video have already been sold.

Plans Announced For Luncheon Celebrating Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary With Giuliana Rancic As Keynote Speaker

Breast cancer all too often was a death sentence or at least an excruciating journey, both physically and emotionally. In the early 1950’s The New York Times “refused to publish an ad for a breast cancer support group, stating that it would not print the words ‘breast’ or ‘cancer.’”

Despite the mammogram being developed in 1969, it still hid behind a cloak of limited knowledge and a patient’s embarrassment. The routine was for a patient to be anesthetized for a biopsy. If the results were positive, a radical mastectomy was immediately performed while the patient was still under anesthesia.

The situation changed slightly in the early 1970’s when such well-knowns as Shirley Temple Black, Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller revealed that they had indeed undergone breast cancer surgery.

Even so, treatments, developments, funding and awareness were limited. Breast cancer continued its charge. But in 1977 the disease picked the wrong person — a 33-year-old woman from Peoria, Illinois. After a three-year battle, the young woman died. But before Susan Goodman Komen succumbed to the disease, her feisty 30-year-old kid sister made a promise — she would “do everything possible to end the shame, pain, fear and hopelessness caused by this disease.”

That sister was Nancy Goodman Brinker, who would establish a world-changing program to bring breast cancer out of the closet with the goal of putting an end to it. In 1982, with the help of Nancy’s husband, the late Norman Brinker, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established.

Since its inception, Komen has “funded more than $920 million in research, more than $2 billion in medical care, community and provider education, and psychosocial support, serving millions in over 60 countries worldwide.”

In addition, millions of people and countless fundraising efforts including Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon program  and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides of North Texas have risen to fuel the battle to rid the world of the disease.

Gigi Hill Lancaster*

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Linda Custard (File photo)

Gene Jones (File photo)

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of the founding of Susan G. Komen, Gigi Hill Lancaster, who lost her mother to breast cancer, is chairing the Susan G. Komen Anniversary Luncheon at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, September 27. Serving as honorary co-chairs are Ruth Altshuler, Linda Custard and Gene Jones.

Giuliana Rancic*

Unlike those days when they used to hold the annual Komen luncheon, where boxes of Kleenex abounded, this one will be an anniversary celebration “honoring those who – for decades – have helped Dallas-based Komen fund breast cancer research and programs that have saved millions on lives.” Emmy-winning TV personality/ entrepreneur/ breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic, who was just seven years old when “the promise” was made, will be the featured speaker.  

Since the luncheon is being held at Belo Mansion, seating will be limited, so book your place pronto.

Thank-you notes should be sent to Co-Presenters Bank of America, Highland Park Village/Al G. Hill Jr. and family, Lyda Hill and Alinda H. Wikert. 

* Photo provided by Susan G. Komen

 

With Pens In Hand, Celebrating Women Luncheon Committee Members Continued The Battle Against Breast Cancer

Around Michal and Lloyd Powell’s dining room table a group of women gathered early on Wednesday, April 5. It wasn’t a gloves-and-hats tea party, nor a brunch. It was a roll-up-the-sleeves session to tackle stacks of letters being sent to friends about the Baylor Health Care System Foundation‘s Celebrating Women Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

The news about keynote speaker Jamie Lee Curtis had been officially announced at Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs Peggy and Leonard Riggs’ home the month before.

Margo Goodwin

Pam McCallum

Ola Fojtasek

But today was the putting of pen to paper. Of the group including Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven, Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek, Lindalyn Adams, Debbie Oates, Margo Goodwin, Pam McCallum, Barbara Stewart and Tucker’s mom Julie Ford around the table, a headcount was asked about how many had actually had breast cancer. Only one or two raised their hands. When asked how many had had a friend or relative hit by breast cancer, the hands dropped their pens and rose around the table.

But thanks to the research and developments in treating breast cancer at Baylor Scott & White as a result of the $28M raised from the 17 years of the luncheon, these ladies were bound and determined to raise much more money for the fear of breast cancer hitting their families or anyone for that matter.

The rest of the day and the following one, more women would arrive at the Powells’ dining table to send the word that cancer can be beaten.

The letters dropped late last week, so if your letter has gone the route of Mars, contact the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Christina Goodman at 214.820.4408

JUST IN: Peggy And Leonard Riggs To Be 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs

The 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon kick-off party at Peggy and Leonard Riggs’ home just took place. In addition to confirming that Jamie Lee Curtis will be the speaker at the Thursday, October 26th event at the Hilton Anatole, Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven revealed that the honorary co-chairs will be Peggy and Leonard.

Leonard and Peggy Riggs, Jim and Kristen Hinton and Robin Robinson

Also on hand for the presentation were new Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.

JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Speaker Will Be Multi-Talented Jamie Lee Curtis (aka Lady Haden-Guest)

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven (File photo)

After weeks of begging, threatening, cajoling and downright nagging, the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Tucker Enthoven and her Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek finally fessed up who would be the featured speaker at Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 18th annual fundraiser to fight breast cancer.

Tucker and Ola have arranged to have a member of a legendary Hollywood family to be on stage at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26 — Jamie Lee Curtis. The daughter of the late Janet Leigh and the late Tony Curtis and the wife of “This Is Spinal Tap”’s and “Best In Show”’s Christopher Guest for the past 32 years, she has earned her stripes in acting, writing, inventing, and facing the reality of breast cancer.

Jamie Lee Curtis*

In the film world, she made her debut at the age of 20 in John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and instantly became known as the “scream queen” by following that up with “The Fog,” “Prom Night” and “Terror Train” in 1980 and “Halloween II” and “Roadgames” in 1981. But she spread her acting talents beyond the horror genre by appearing in “Trading Places” in 1983, “A Fish Called Wanda” in 1988, “Blue Steel in 1989, “True Lies” in 1994 and “Freaky Friday” in 2003.

But Jamie Lee’s talents weren’t limited to the big and little screens. With two adopted children (Annie Guest and Thomas Guest), she has written a number of children’s books starting in 1993 with “When I was Little: A Four-Year Old’s Memoir of Her Youth.”

Thanks to motherhood, she was spurred into becoming an inventor. Realizing the challenges of “cleaning up,” she invented “a modification of a diaper with a moisture-proof pocket containing wipes that can be taken out and used with one hand. Curtis refused to allow her invention to be marketed until companies started selling biodegradable diaplors.”

And there’s still more. For instance, she may be known to most folks as Jamie Lee Curtis, but she became Lady Haden-Guest when her husband inherited the Barony of Haden-Guest in 1996.

Rita Wilson (File photo)

However, everything hasn’t been picture perfect. In addition to being the child of divorced parents, having a variety of step-parents and recovering from opiate addiction, she revealed in 2010, “I had my own personal moment of truth 10 years ago when I had a biopsy done on a small, questionable lump in my breast. It was scary… Everything turned out fine, but it brought me very close to understanding how lucky I am to have access to all these resources and great doctors.”

BTW, Jamie Lee is known for being smart, speaking her mind and having a great sense of humor. Translation: This luncheon has all the earmarks of being a perfect follow-up to Rita Wilson’s all-star appearance at last year’s fundraiser. So check out the sponsorship opportunities and tickets availabilities ASAP.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

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.