MySweet2018Goals: Lisa Cooley

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Dallas Go Red For Women Luncheon Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

“My goal for the new year is to help the American Heart Association to build healthier lives, free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  Heart disease is our nation’s number one killer.  Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death.

“The AHA has a goal to improve cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020.  Through national and local grassroots research as well as awareness campaigns and education, I am confident that Go Red Dallas will make an impact in this effort in North Texas.

“In recent years, locally:

  • “31 projects totaling $8.5 million at UT Southwestern were funded
  • “436 schools received healthy educational materials and lesson plans
  • “61,00 newborns received mandatory congenital heart defect screenings

“The campaign’s cornerstone is the Go Red For Women Luncheon that draws more than 1,300 business executives, medical professionals and community leaders to a call for action for the health and wellness of themselves and the women they love.”

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Meeting Gets To The Heart Of The Matter

You might say the Tuesday, December 12, meeting of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation was an affair of the heart. That’s because the featured speakers were Dr. Shelley A. Hall—chief of transplant cardiology and mechanical circulatory support and heart failure for Baylor Scott And White Health—along with one of Baylor’s best-known heart-transplant recipients. But, more on that later.

Kristen Hinton and Kristi Sherill*

Christi Urschel and Tucker Enthoven*

Susan McSherry and Tavia Hunt*

While the foundation board chair, Norm Bagwell, was unavoidably absent, there was the usual robust turnout for the quarterly luncheon at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. Among those attending were Erle Nye, Julie Turner, Richard Holt, Tucker Enthoven, Pierce Allman, Kathy Crow, Kristen Hinton, Barry Andrews, Margo Goodwin, Keenan Delaney, Nancy Dedman, Tavia Hunt, Tom Dunning, Christi Urschel, Ken Schnitzer, Shannon Skokos and Michal Powell. Following the welcome by foundation President Rowland K. Robinson, Michal and Pat McEvoy were announced as co-chairs of the 2018 Celebrating Women luncheon—with Shelle Sills serving as underwriting chair—before Michal delivered the invocation.

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board luncheon*

Keenan Delaney*

Kathy Crow and Jeanne Whitman Bobbitt*

Then it was time for Susan McSherry to update the guests on foundation business. Susan reported that the 16th annual Grand Rounds Golf Tournament had raised more than $350,000, and that 2017’s Celebrating Women Luncheon with actress Jamie Lee Curtis had raked in more than $1.8 million. Meantime, board giving for the year was sitting at 36 percent, Susan said, adding, “I know we can do better than that!”

Robin took the podium next and noted the sad recent passings of Al Hill Jr. and Ruth Altshuler, both good friends of the Baylor system. He also gave a shout-out to luncheon guest Dr. Bob Gunby Jr., who in November had delivered the first baby born in the U.S. to a mother who’d received a uterus transplant. Both the birth and the transplant took place at Baylor University Medical Center.

Shelley Hall*

Robin then introduced Hall, who is nationally recognized in the heart transplant community. The Cape Cod, Massachusetts, native participates in multiple trials, both national and international, and has created a leading clinical program here. She focuses on “advanced heart failure” in the sickest patients, she said, and gets involved when the heart’s not doing its job: “I’m the doctor you don’t want to see.”

Baylor Scott And White Health’s heart transplant program is the biggest in Texas, Hall said, though there is “still a severe donor shortage.” In 2016 53 Baylor patients were assisted by the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) system—one of the big heart/lung bypass machines was on display at the front of the room—and more than 100 patients were being helped by some sort of ventricular assist device, she added.

Tim and Terry Gallagher, Rowland Robinson and Shelley Hall*

With that Hall brought up Terry and Tim Gallagher, who together told how Tim had been the 100th recipient of a successful heart transplant at Baylor Scott And White during 2014. Tim, who owns a successful toll-tag company in Dallas, recalled that, in late November of that year, he was feeling good, having just dropped 25 pounds to be “the fittest I’d been in 20 years.”

But then, working out at his home gym, he suffered a type of heart attack so severe it’s referred to as “the widow-maker.”

“I felt fatigued,” Tim remembered at the luncheon. “I laid back on the bed and felt pressure on my chest. I called my wife.” Added Terri: “He said, ‘I think I’m having a heart attack!’ Our son Greyson called 9-1-1. We heard a scream. [Tim] was passed out on the floor.”

Tim Gallagher, Rowland Robinson and Terry Gallagher*

The left ventricle in his heart was so completely blocked, Tim easily could have died that day. Instead, he was transported for some extraordinary care to Baylor University Medical Center. There, he was hooked up to an ECMO machine and, eventually, placed on the transplant list with “1A” status. The “1A” meant he probably wouldn’t survive more than a week without receiving a heart transplant.

The very next day after his name was placed on the list, “I got a call telling us we had a donor,” Terri said, her eyes welling up with tears at the memory. The transplant operation was successfully performed on Dec. 22.

On April 21—more than three years after the 2014 surgery—the Gallaghers will serve as co-chairs and gala chair for the American Heart Association Dallas’ 2018 Dallas Côtes du Coeur event series, the nation’s largest Heart Ball. “Statistically,” Tim summed up poignantly as the quarterly meeting drew to a close, “I think I’m a miracle.”

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

MySweetWishList: Go Red For Women Luncheon

According to 2018 Go Red For Women Luncheon Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

“Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s movement to celebrate the energy, passion and power of women to stand together to wipe out the #1 killer of women and men. The Go Red for Women Luncheon is the cornerstone event of the Go Red for Women movement.

“This empowering event focuses on preventing heart disease and stroke by promoting healthy lifestyles and raising awareness through the support of the Dallas community to fund education and research of heart related science in women.

“My wish along with my Co-Chair Janelle Walker is to get more women and men involved in the event on Friday, February 23, at the Omni Dallas. Supporting the Go Red for Women Luncheon allows corporations and individuals to come together to raise awareness and fund research, especially in women.

“The luncheon is an opportunity to share this educational message with women’s leadership groups, executives, neighbors or friends and anyone who can impact the life of a woman by lending a voice for heart health.

“For every $1 raised, 90 cents directly funds research and education for heart health.  I believe that is money well spent.”

-By Lisa Cooley, Go Red For Women Luncheon co-chair

JUST IN: Emmy Award Winner/Former WFAA “PM Magazine’s” Leeza Gibbons Returns To Dallas As Go Red For Women Keynote Speaker

And the news keeps rocking and rolling in today. Go Red For Women Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Janelle Walker have just announced Emmy Award winner Leeza Gibbons will be returning to familiar surroundings for the American Heart Association – Dallas fundraiser.  

Leeza Gibbons*

It was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s that Leeza appeared with Bill Ratliff on WFAA’s “PM Magazine,” before heading on to other programs like “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra” and “Leeza.”

In addition to her television career, Leeza has made quite a reputation for herself regarding children’s causes and health issues. One of them being heart disease. She knows all too well that one can survive a heart attack. Her father Carlos “Pops” Gibbons was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Not one to sit around and do nothing, Leeza insisted that her dad get a media alert system, Philips Lifeline. Three years later Carlos fell to the floor having a heart attack. Thanks to the device, an ambulance arrived in time.  

Leeza was so impressed with the lifesaving device, she became a spokesperson for it and an advocate for heart healthiness.

According to Leeza, “While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, we do know there is a need to make more women aware of their risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all the cancers combined. Go Red For Women is a movement I am happy to stand behind to help drive change through advocacy, research and education.”

On Friday, February 23, Leeza will be at the Omni to join 1,300 women and men to raise funds to battle heart disease.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Liz Robinson at 214.441.4258.

* Photo provided by American Heart Association of Dallas

Kate And Eric Sudol Bring The Third Annual Collin County Heart Ball To The New Omni Frisco Hotel At The Star For Grazing, Auction And Dancing

Eric Sudol has no need for GPS to find his way to the Dallas Cowboys Star Complex in Frisco. As the Dallas Cowboys’ VP of Corporate Partnership Sales and Services, he‘s an old hand for the 91-acre campus that includes the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, an indoor practice field, restaurants, offices and the brand new Omni Frisco Hotel.

Eric and Kate Sudol*

So, when Eric and his wife, Kate Sudol, took over the chair duties for the 2017 Collin County Heart Ball, they knew just the place to hold it. As a matter of fact, the Saturday, November 4, fundraiser for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will be one of the very first galas at the hotel.

According to Kate, “The Collin County Heart Ball is unique in that you come to one gala and actually experience several of the finest restaurants in the Metroplex at one time. In addition to the spectacular food (Omni Frisco Hotel Executive Chef) creates, Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts and Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine are among the eateries that will have tasting stations.”

Beside grazing around, guests will also be able to bid on such things as trips to Telluride and Bimini and dance the night away.

But Eric stressed that the real draw of the night is the cause, saying, “It’s a premier event that is always a lot of fun, but there’s a bigger reason to get involved. The Association is set on improving the cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. They want to do all this by 2020. We’re honored to be part of what is sure to be a historic milestone.”

Ticket start at $250 and can be snatched up here!

* Photo provided by Dallas American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

The Wilkinson Center Is Dealing With The Loss Of Volunteer Vickie Thompson And The Need For The Can Do! Lunch To Change

Vickie Thompson (File photo)

The Wilkinson Center’s Anne Reeder admitted that the past week has been tough. Longtime Wilkinson volunteer and “Lakewood Mom” Vickie Thompson suddenly died of a heart attack following the Lakewood 4th of July parade. It was just a year or so ago that Vickie had been named Wilkinson’s volunteer of the year. Whether it was pitching in to help the community or rallying others to the need of an individual, she exemplified the very word “volunteer.”

For those who knew Vickie, it’s hard to imagine the Lakewood neighborhood and the Center being without the blonde powerhouse leading the charge.

Anne had hardly adjusted to that news when she learned that the Sixth Annual Can Do! Luncheon was going to have to change. No, not the event itself, but rather the traditional date and possibly the location. Since its inception, the fundraising luncheon spotlighting entrepreneurship had been held at the Dallas County Club on the second Tuesday of May.

But it seems the Club had recently notified event planners and members that a new policy limited events with more than 100 guests to Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

Anne Reeder (File photo)

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

What’s a girl to do?

Luckily, Anne had already arranged for fundraising force-of-nature Emilynn Wilson to chair the 2018 luncheon. It was Emilynn who hauled in a whopping $283,435 for the Callier Cares Luncheon this past April at the DCC.

Comparing notes the ladies bit the bullet and booked Monday, May 7, at the DCC.

So, white out May 8 and ink in the new date for the 2018 Can Do! Luncheon. This one is going to be tough without Vickie, but one can’t help but suspect that her spirit will fill the room.

JUST IN: Lisa Cooley And Janelle Walker To Co-Chair 2018 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Janelle Walker and Lisa Cooley*

More news just arrived about 2018 fundraising. The Dallas Go Red For Women Luncheon not only has two blondes co-chairing the event, they’ve already locked down some nice funding. The ladies are Lisa Cooley and Janelle Walker.

To kick things off, Janelle has already gotten a $125,000 commitment from her bosses at BB&T and from Texas Health.

While they’re keeping their lips sealed about who will be the featured speaker, they did reveal that the fundraising for the American Heart Association of Dallas will take place on Friday, February 23, at the Omni.

* Photo credit: Goldenlight Creative

2017 Côtes Du Coeur Gala Popped The Cork To Net A Hearty $4M For The American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

While the art lovers were over at the Dallas Museum of Art for the 2017 Art Ball’s “All That Glitters” on Saturday, April 22, the wine lovers were bubbling with bid cards, grazing the the chef stations and raising wine glasses at the 2017  Côtes du Coeur to provide funding for the American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Here is a report from the field:

2017 Cotes du Coeur*

The American Heart Association’s 2017 Côtes du Coeur Gala, held at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Saturday, April 22, hosted close to 1,200 business and wine industry leaders, community philanthropists, wine collectors and physicians. Led by renowned Chef Richard Chamberlain, a team of 18 acclaimed chefs visited with guests and served up selections from a boldly unique tasting menu accompanied by wine pairings created from the cellars of 30 elite wineries.

Richard Chamberlain and Steve Grimshaw*

The event featured 620 silent auction wine lots and 12 live auction items which offered opportunities to stay at exclusive luxury homes, tour vineyards, experience private chef tasting menus and much more.

Doug Hawthorne and Kelly and David Pfeil*

Barbara Smith*

Chaired by Kelly and David Pfeil with Barbara Smith as the Executive Leadership Team Chair, this year’s event grossed $4.6 million and netted $4 million to fund life -saving research and educational programs, making it a record breaking sum for the Dallas event and across the country for the American Heart Association.

The highest Live Auction package was an exclusive trip to Paris to privately tour the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, which sold twice for $110,000.

Denise Hunter and Erin Hunter*

Heart disease survivor Erin Hunter shared her story on-stage with her mom, Denise. The survivor testimonial, Open Your Heart, was lead with a gift of $150,000, and matched in the room by an inspired couple, who prefer to remain anonymous.

“I don’t remember a time where I didn’t have to think about my heart. Between my surgeries and check-ups, I lived as normal a life as I possibly could,” said Erin, who is now a nurse at the Heart Center at Children’s Health where she underwent numerous heart surgeries as a child. “Many people have said that things happen for a reason, and I believe that is true. Because of my experiences, I am able to give back to parents and patients going through similar tough times that my family went through.”

“It is because of fundraising events like Côtes du Coeur, and the support of the generous individuals and businesses that attended Saturday night, that the funding for cardiovascular research and health education programs remains strong and continues to save lives,” American Heart Association Executive Director Melissa Cameron said.

Merry Edwards*

Mike and Diane Gruber and Kim and Greg Hext*

Some of the attendees in the room were Tete du Cuvee honoree Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery, Barbara and Mike Smith, Kim and Greg Hext, Melissa and Steve Grimshaw, Anne Davidson, Diane and Mike Gruber, Diane and Hal Brierley, Laura and Eric Hutto, Tim Wallace, Carol and Matt Holmes, Katherine Wynne, Doug Hawthorne, Amy and Michael Meadows, Ron Haddock, Mary Parker, Pam and Mark Okada, Keli and Mike Jenkins, Jana and Mike Brosin, Eric and Amy Schoch and chefs John Tesar, Jim “Sevy” Severson, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, Matt McCallister, Alex Astranti and Chad Houser.

Mary Parker and Tim Wallace*

Anne Davidson and Mark Porter*

The 2018 Dallas Côtes du Coeur will be held on Saturday, April 21, at the Omni Dallas. Terri and Tim Gallagher will serve as the chairs

For a full list of chefs, wineries, sponsors and committee members, visit dallaswineauction.com.

* Photo provided by American Heart Association Dallas-Fort Worth

Start Working Out Because A Weekend Of Fundraising Gala Collisions Lies Ahead

Côtes du Coeur (File photo)

Well, yuck! North Texas is preparing to have one of those fundraising collision weekends. Drat!

On Saturday, April 22, two major, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious events are taking place. The wine-loving types will be at the Omni Dallas for the American Heart Association graze and gaze with a corral full of chefs and more wines than California could produce for Côtes du Coeur thanks to Co-Chairs Kelly and David Pfeil.

Art Ball 2016 (File photo)

Over at the Dallas Museum of Art, new kid-on-the-block (aka Eugene McDermott Director) Agustin Arteaga will be introduced to fundraising Dallas-style with the 2017 Art Ball. With Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson at the helm and the taste of romantic France via “All That Glistens,” it’s pretty darn obvious that it’s gonna be a night of killer fashions, food and fantastical auction items. The tent is already being erected next to the DMA.

Trammell S. Crow

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund (File photo)

And Friday is just as bad. Here, the EarthxGlobal Gala folks moved their big soiree from Saturday to Friday night to avoid the Art Ball/Côtes du Coeur traffic jam. Only problem: there’s still another mega fundraiser — Children’s Cancer Fund — taking place at the Hilton Anatole that night with kids and celebrities on the runway.

Oh, dear! What is one to do? Do two-a-night and then hit the after-soiree stop — Whataburger?

If either any of ‘em sounds to your liking instead of the same-old Friday and Saturday night sock-sorting and grilling steaks, there are still tickets available. Here’s the one for Côtes du Coeur and here’s the one for Art Ball. Either way you can win!

Horse racing (File photo)

BTW, if you think Sunday is gonna be any better, think again. The Retina Foundation‘s Racing for Sight at Lone Star Park is on a collision course with the Nasher Sculpture Center‘s Great Create.

The Great Create (File photo)

It just ain’t fair!

Côtes Du Coeur Catalog Preview Party Reveals “Wonderful Things” For The American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Fundraiser

Thursday night was just popping with news like a North Texas thunderstorm. After announcing plans for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon at Peggy and Leonard Riggs’ home across from the Dallas Country Club, Tucker Enthoven scurried over to her Preston Hollow estate to host the Côtes du Coeur Catalog Preview Party.

And, boy, have Côtes du Coeur Co-Chairs Kelly and Dave Pfeil put together a collection of auction items, chefs and wines for the Saturday, April 22, dinner/auction at the Omni Dallas! It’s enough to make one’s heart go pitty pat.

And speaking of the heart, the American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth fundraiser is a personal undertaking for Kelly and Dave. As Kelly said, “We have lost three immediate family members to heart issues. Dave’s brother had a valve replacement and his father, after two heart attacks, has six stents.”

According to Dave, “Kelly’s career as a PhD scientist in research and development of food and beverage was devoted to heart-healthy products, by eliminating and reducing trans and saturated fats and reducing sugar and sodium, with Coca-Cola and Frito Lay. Our common desire to save and improve lives keeps us involved with the work of the AHA.”

To bring in the funding for heart disease research and treatments, Auction Co-Chairs Georgia Davis and Kim Bannister have put together the following:

  • The City of Lights – a Private Parisian Tour: The winning bidder will gather a group of up to 20 people, or a more intimate group if you prefer, to have the Louvre and Palace of Versailles all to yourself!
    • The LouvreThe Louvre averages just under 30,000 visitors per day. Often crowds are 15 deep in front of the Mona Lisa. BUT, your group will wander the Louvre filled with works by the world’s greatest artists without any distractions. Crowds will not obscure your appreciation for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, the Winged Victory of Samothrace or the Venus de Milo. Delight in 3 hours (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.) of uninterrupted bliss in the largest museum in the world.
    • The Palace of Versailles – The next afternoon (or previous afternoon), experience the approximately 2,000 acres of Palace of Versailles’ incredibly beautiful gardens.  From 2:30-5:00 p.m., marvel at the symmetry of the gardens, enjoy the fountains, tour the stables and contemplate what it took to create such a marvelous estate.
  • Behind the Scenes with Filmmaker Ken Burns: Shadow Emmy Award-winning Ken Burns and the writers, producers, and other film makers that work with Ken producing amazing films of America’s history at his studio in Walpole, New Hampshire. View clips of upcoming films such as “The Vietnam War” and “Country Music.”
  • Montana Mountain Retreat: Embrace nature’s beauty as your group of eight fish, hike and explore the mountains of Montana. Relax in a beautiful 4-bedroom, 2-cabin home by the natural treasure of Flathead lake. Explore the Glazier National Park or sail to Big Fork, Crazy Horse Island for excursions during your 6-night/7-day retreat.  
  • Experience Russian River Valley’s Merry Edwards: Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the world-renowned Russian River Valley during a three (3) night stay at Merry Edwards’ extraordinary new guest house in Forestville. Your group of eight will be treated to a VIP winery tour and tasting at Merry Edwards winery.  Enjoy a relaxed dinner with Merry and Ken paired with library wines selected from their cellar. A true wine lover’s dream and a once-in-a-lifetime getaway featuring one of the greatest wine producers in California!

Richard Chamberlain (File photo)

Jim Severson (File photo)

Dean Fearing (File photo)

Kevin Garvin (File photo)

Matt McCallister (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

As for the graze-around dinner, Chef Chair Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House and Chamberlain’s Fish Market has arranged for the following chefs to be stationed around the ballroom: Chef Aaron Staudenmaier of Shinsei, Lovers Seafood and Market; Jim Severson of Sevy’s Grill; Dean Fearing of Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton; Kevin Garvin and Anita Hirsch of Neiman Marcus; David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House; John Tesar of Knife; Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly; Carl Murray of NOBU; Garth Blackburn of Sub-Zero/Wolf Showroom; Gerard Thompson of Rough Creek Lodge and Resort; Donald Chalko of Omni Dallas Hotel; Matt McCallister of Filament and FT33; Stephen Rogers of Gemma; Alex Astranti of Uchi; Angela Hernandez of Top Knot; Jody Denton and Stephen Kalil of Frito-Lay Kitchen and Chad Houser of Café Momentum.

The wines for the evening will be led by this year’s Tete du Cuvee winner — Merry Edwards of Merry Edwards Winery and including B Cellars, Barnett Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyards, Beringer Vineyards, Château Minuty, Checkerboard Vineyards, Clos du Val, Domaine Paul Blanck, Egelhoff Wines, Ehlers Estate, Etude House, Hall and Walt Wines, Herb Lamb Vineyards, J. Bookwalter Winery, Justin Vineyards and Winery, Loring Wine Company, Macauley Vineyards, Modus Operandi Cellars, Montagu Wines/ Silver Ghost, Mullan Road Cellars, Ramey Wine Cellars, Red Mare Wines, Schweiger Vineyards, Sequoia Grove, Stewart Cellars, Torii Mor, Trujillo Wines, Turnbull Wine Cellars and W and J Graham.

Tickets for the wining and dining are available here!

Go Red For Women Luncheon Speaker Alison Levine Inspired Guests To Conquer All Challenges Including Heart Disease By Being Relentless

As loads of folks especially ladies attended the health screenings, cooking demonstration and CPR demonstration starting at 10 a.m. at Omni Dallas for Go Red for Women on Friday, February 4, the car cha-cha at the front door grew to bumper-to-bumper around 11:30 for those attending just the luncheon.

Amy Simmons Crafton, Melissa Cameron and Anne Stodghill

In the meantime, the invitation-only VIP reception scheduled for 10:30 was aglow in red thanks to guests in their American Heart Association best like Amy Simmons Crafton and Anne Stodghill, who was in a full-length red coat complete with glitter.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

Alas, speaker-of-honor Alison Levine was late in arriving, but once there she was non-stop howdy-doing. Waiting their turn with Alison, Sandi Haddock Community Impact Awardee Mary Parker and her family (son Miller Gill, daughter Rebecca Gill, mother Suzanne Humphreys and husband Joe Parker) posed for a quick cellphoto taken by Open Your Heart Chair and Survivor Nancy Gopez.

By noon the reception area in front of the Dallas Ballroom looked like a poppy field thanks to guests like Sandi Haddock, Kay Hammond, Kit Sawers, Roz Colombo, Gina Betts, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Mary Martha Pickens, Lisa Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Tracy Lange, Becky Bowen, Vicki Howland, Ramona Jones and fellas like Ron Haddock and Stan Levenson.

Kit Sawers, Gina Betts and Roz Colombo

Mary Martha Pickens, Ciara Cooley and Lisa Cooley

Thank heaven the chimes rang, the ballroom doors opened and the crowd filled the place.

Stan Levenson

Pat Malambri

Luncheon Chair Michelle Vopni introduced Amy Simmons Crafton for the invocation and Macy’s Dallas Fort Worth District VP Pat Malambri, who told of the longtime association of the retailer with the battle against heart disease in women. He also added that he hoped that many of the guests’ red outfits had come from Macy’s.

Following a brief rest for lunch, American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Executive Director Melissa Cameron presented the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award to Mary Parker, who graciously accepted the award and scored points with Pat saying, “My dress came from Macy’s.”

Then Melissa presented Open Your Heart Chair/Survivor Nancy Gopez, who asked her pal Mary to return to the podium to share the occasion. It was Mary’s advocacy about heart disease that alerted Nancy to the sign of her heart attack last year.

Mary told the audience that Amy and her AmazingGrace.Life had provided a $25,000 match for any $1,000 contributors.

Beck Weathers

As the ladies left the stage, local mountain climber Dr. Beck Weathers, who barely survived the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, introduced Alison, who gave a polished talk. Somehow, she intertwined her twice quest to conquer Mt. Everest with every day challenges by taking one step at a time and the importance of being relentless. The first attempt in 2002 had been daunting with weeks of climbing back and forth between camps on the mountain to acclimate her body for the climb to the 29,002-foot peak. Toward the final phase, one has to take five to ten breaths for each step. To make it through this part of the climb, she focused on a nearby rock. Once there, she would focus on another rock. The message was to take one step at a time in order to achieve the final goal.

In the end, she and her team had come within 200 feet of the summit only to have to turn back because they were running low on oxygen and supplies.

Alison Levine

As a result of the miss, she learned that failure wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, she and her team survived. If they had made it to summit, they might not have survived the journey down. Still, she had no plans of attempting another run for the summit.

It was her good friend/collegiate All-American soccer player Meg Berté Owen who urged her to try again. It was Meg’s resilience that turned Alison’s decision. It seems that despite her lungs being damaged due to having Hodgkin’s disease, Meg had become an avid cyclist and raised funds to fight cancer. Her death in 2009 as a result of the flu provided the impetus for Alison to take on Everest again. This time she engraved Meg’s name on her ice-ax and took on the challenge one more time. This time as she neared the summit, a storm approached. But Alison just knew she could make it to the top and return safely. Yes, she made it to the top of the world long enough to hold up a T-shirt reading “Team Meg.”

It was a talk that lasted just long enough and yet was both inspirational and refreshing.

Then it was a scamper to the cars, but it ran right on time with a finish time of 1:10.

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women Patron Party Had A Bigger-Than-Planned Turnout

Tim Wallace and Mary Parker

The valets had been warned to expect 50 to 70 for the Go Red for Women patron party at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate on Thursday, February 2. Instead it was more like 150. Itty-bitty Nancy Gopez showed up a half hour into the event, but if it hadn’t been for her buddy Mary Parker, she wouldn’t have been there or anywhere at all.

It was blonde beauty/heart survivor Mary’s advocating to friend and stranger alike about the warning signs of heart disease that had sent Nancy to the ER, when she was visiting her folks last fall. That resulted in not only Nancy’s recovery from a true life-threatening condition, but it also landed her on the American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women’s slate as Open Your Heart chair with her buddy Mary, and receiving the Sandi Haddock Impact Award at the Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Omni Dallas on Friday, February 3.

Kay Hammond

Jeff Canose

Ron and Sandi Haddock

Despite the chill of the night, the patrons found the Cooley mansion just to their liking with Sandi and Ron Haddock greeting folks like Texas Health Resources COO Dr. Jeff CanoseKay Hammond, Trinity Industries CEO Tim Wallace, Anne Davidson and Mark Porter at the entry hall. Ron looked pretty darn spiffy in his black leather jacket that they picked up in Florence.

Across the room, Crystal Charity Ball members Cara French and Lisa Cooley were recovering from a marathon day of CCB beneficiary selection. The day had started around 8 a.m. and had just finished up at 5:20 p.m.

Cara French and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Vopni and Melissa Cameron

But it was an early night for the Go Red crowd. Plans called for an early morning start thanks to American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area Executive Director Melissa Cameron‘s and Go Red for Women Luncheon Chair/Ernst and Young Dallas Managing Partner Michelle Vopni‘s plans for a full day of heart-healthy activities.

Radiothon Revealed A Story How Lacey Parker’s Half Heart Was Made Whole At Children’s Medical Center 12 Years Ago This Month

Jody Dean, Lacey Parker, Renee Parker and Jenny Q

Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker came from DeSoto to chat with KLUV’s Jody Dean and Jenny Q this afternoon at Children’s Medical Center for the fundraiser Radiothon, joining folks like Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s former President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and ADT’s Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch.

Lori Wagoner, Kern Wildenthal and Heidi Cannella

Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch

Connie Yates

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Only it wasn’t DeSoto, Texas. The pair came 200 miles from Stonewall, Louisiana, where Lacey attends North DeSoto Middle School.

But the trek wasn’t new for the two. They’ve made the trip twice a year for the past 12 years.

It was in 2004 that Renee discovered that she was six months pregnant and ended up giving birth to Lacey two months later. The moment she saw her daughter, she knew Lacey had Down’s Syndrome. No problem for the Parker family.

But there was a problem. The infant was blue. The doctors at the first hospital more or less told the parents to love Lacey as much as they could, because she probably wouldn’t last three weeks.

Upon hearing the news, Renee was so upset, she went to the bathroom and cried. So much so that the janitor had to remove the door to get Renee out.

Luckily, the Parkers sought a second opinion at Dallas’ Children’s Medical Center and learned that the bottom of Lacey’s heart was missing. So, at the age of six months, she had open heart surgery at the hands of Dr. Stephen Leonard.

But before the delicate, six- to eight-hour-long surgery took place in December 2004, Dr. Leonard and the Parkers made an agreement: if it appeared that they were losing Lacey, he would call them to the “back door” to say “good-bye.”  

After four hours, they got the call. Arriving at the doors and prepared for the worst, they saw Dr. Leonard with Lacey in his arms. For the first time ever, their little girl had a healthy pink color. She went home four days later.

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

Since that time, Lacey has been picked for her middle school cheerleading team and was named Miss Amazing for Louisiana and then Miss National Princess for Miss Amazing.

Her reaction at becoming a cheerleader was taped and went viral and was viewed by millions. The result? Lacey was featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

That story had those in Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium spellbound. But then Jody, Jenny Q and Lacey broke the moment with the question of, “What’s your favorite professional football team?” Louisiana Lacey replied, “The Saints.” Jenny Q pushed the envelope and asked what Lacey’s second favorite team was … “Perhaps a Texas team?” Lacey didn’t hesitate: “No.”

La Grande team

Those are the kind of stories that are being broadcast Friday over KLUV 98.7 and La Grande.

The hope is that donations will be made for little ones like Lacey to have a chance to cheer.