An Event At Highland Park Village’s Etro Dallas Raises Money And Mental Health Awareness For The Center For BrainHealth

Susan Jones and Kimber Hartmann*

Inside the upscale Etro Dallas boutique at Highland Park Village, Kimber Hartmann glanced around at the 75 or so guests who’d gathered for an event benefiting the Center for BrainHealth, a research institute that’s part of the University of Texas at Dallas. “It’s nice that people are starting to think about their brain and their health,” said Hartmann, the center’s director of development and strategic operations. “The brain is your greatest asset, and young people especially are excited [about the center’s activities]. Look at the mix of people here. Not to mention, there are fabulous clothes and shoes here!”

Etro overview*

There was indeed a mix at the Tuesday, December 5, 2017, event, including young people and older ones—writers, lawyers, financiers, PR specialists. Among them were Jim Dondero, Jen Seward, Michael Hurst, Pam Hill, Susan Jones, Jeff Kaplan, Tricia Linderman, Brantley Hargrove, Dorothy Pullen, Michael Mooney, Martha Hofmeister, Barbara Kennedy, and Mark Edgar. Many of the attendees were peering through the boutique’s racks of colorful clothing—a new African collection had recently come in—because Etro had promised to donate 10% of all sales (not only that night, but for the following five days) to the Center for BrainHealth, store manager Melinda Rathke explained.

Chris Rentzel, Martha Hofmeister, Jeff Kaplan and Barbara Kennedy*

Melinda Rathke, Pam Hill and Dorothy Pullen*

The event had been organized by friends Kelly Rentzel and Shannon Wherry. Said Shannon: “I love Etro. Kelly and I just thought it would be fun to do a holiday party here. Brain health is something that both Kelly and I are pretty passionate about.” Rentzel especially is intrigued by the subject, since she has suffered in the past from bipolar disorder and has begun to talk about it publicly, in order to help others.

Kelly Rentzel and Jen Seward*

Tricia Linderman and Shannon Wherry*

Rentzel, who’s a corporate lawyer, was diagnosed with the disorder more than two decades ago. But she got better, she said, with the help of “medication and therapy and hard work and faith. I also listened to a lot of music—specifically, George Harrison’s ‘Cloud Nine’ album.” That was a little ironic, she admitted wrly, because listening to the Beatles’ “The White Album” had contributed to her breakdown in the first place. She suffered a relapse five years ago, she said, before undergoing successful electroshock treatment.

Peter Bradley Adams*

While the guests chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Lombardi’s Catering, they also listened to live music by Peter Bradley Adams, who’d flown in from Nashville especially for the occasion. Shannon had reached out to the singer/songwriter, whose tunes have been featured on TV shows like “Dawson’s Creek,” after discovering his music on her Spotify feed.

After awhile a microphone was set up near the front of the store, and Kelly thanked the guests for coming. She also extended a special thank-you to Peter. “He was originally inspired by the Beatles, which I related to,” Rentzel said, smiling slightly. “I just told him to stay away from ‘The White Album.’”

* Photo credit: Daniel Driensky


Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis And Sheriff Lupe Valdez To Receive The Well Community’s First Founder’s Award At Recovery Live Benefit Concert

The Well Community is adding a new element to its annual Recovery Live Benefit Concert on Thursday, November 30, at The Kessler. In the past, the fundraiser to help adults dealing with severe mental illnesses has just a great time with great music.

Lupe Valdez (File photo)

But after four years, they decided to put some bells and whistles to the festivities. In addition to having WFAA’s Brett Shipp as emcee and Floramay Holliday and Over the River and The Rosemont Kings performing, they’ve added a silent auction and the Founder’s Award.

This first-time award will be presented to Body Oak Cliff Founder Joel Pulis and Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

According to The Well Community Executive Director Alice Zaccarello, “This award has been created to acknowledge those whose action have opened up new avenues of recovery and hope to individuals suffering from mental illnesses.”

Event sponsors include Good Space, Ged Dipprey Realtor, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, Bret and Karen Schuch, Steven and Dawn Camp, Roland Warnock, Hanes and Boone LLP, K and L Gates LLP, Beth and Wes Keyes, Jim Lake Advisors LLC, Republic Title Turtle Creek, Amy Carenza and Nathan Offerdahl, Potpourri of Silk, Soap Hope, Shirlee and Charles Bealke, Suzanne and Wayne Braddick, Diana and David Ezzell, Scott Griggs, Colleen and Ken Kelley, Cornerstone Home Lending, Masterman, La Calle Doce and El Ranchito, Methodist Medical System, Norma’s Café, RPGA Design Group, Ryan Frahm – Origins Bank Home, Lending, Square Foot and Vickie Turner.

Tickets start at $50. And if you’re already got plans that night, consider taking a tour of The Well Community and discover the various programs that are offered to help deal with an very real challenge within lives.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Meal For The Minds Luncheon

According to Metrocare Services CEO Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

Emmitt Smith*

NFL and Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will speak to the 2017 Meal for the Minds audience this year.  Mr. Smith is renowned and respected not only for his Super Bowl championships and NFL achievements, but also for his substantial success in business and his goodwill and generosity.  His extraordinary life provides him a unique platform to influence others about mental health care issues.  Mr. Smith encourages everyone to speak openly about the need to seek help while advocating for increased access to mental health care.

Metrocare Services celebrates our 50th anniversary this year! In 1967, no one spoke publicly about mental illness.  In 2017, the stigma of mental illness is lessened because of those with the courage to speak out and those with the means to support them.  Last year, as a result of this community’s willingness to battle the challenge of stigma, Metrocare helped over 57,000 adults and children with mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, more than ever before!

The goal for Dallas must be complete elimination of this stigma.  It’s an honor to have Mr. Smith further that goal by speaking at Metrocare’s Meal for the Minds on how we can each play a role in “breaking the silence, fighting the stigma and changing minds.”

To amplify his and all of our voices, NBC 5 will be our media sponsor to assist us in promoting this year’s Meal for the Minds. Additionally, NBC 5 will continue to build awareness of Metrocare’s wide range of programs for those who need mental health care, services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primary care, housing, and supportive services.

The 2017 Meal for the Minds luncheon will be held Thursday, October 5, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.  The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500.  For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at  For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected]

* Photo provided by Metrocare

Meals For The Minds Luncheon Speaker Carrie Fisher Provided Food For Thought About Mental Health

Once again Thursdays proved to be the appetizer for the weekend ahead. While the Kappa Alpha Thetas were listening to Kira Plastinina, it was a luncheon across town that created talk for the evening fare and put WFAA’s Ron Corning’s emceeing talents to the test.

It was the Meals for the Mind lunch that created the tasty talk. In the Imperial Ballroom, formerly known as the Khymer Ballroom (and before that as the indoor tennis courts), the Metrocare Services fundraiser had all the looks of the normal luncheon with celebrity guest speaker and silent auction. But instead of taking place at Belo Mansion as in years past, it was moved to the Anatole due to the expected turnout. The reason for ramping up was keynote speaker Carrie Fisher, who was known as “Star Wars” Princess Leia, Paul Simon’s ex, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, an accomplished author and for having bipolar disorder.

Still, the Meals For the Mind organizers stayed tried-and-true to their roots by having cakes on tables for the silent auction.

As guests perused the cake collection, Carrie was kept under wraps and word was passed — her contract forbade any photos, including cellphones, or recordings.

Carrie chose not to join the table of VIP’s and continued to stay out of sight until she was introduce by Ron. She was escorted on stage by her French bulldog, Gary, that she describes as her therapy dog. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the podium, the pooch decided to relieve itself unceremoniously and then barked his unhappiness at being there.

Carrie proceeded to speak for 40 minutes. One person described the presentation as “rambling” and talking to herself.

When Carrie then opened the venue to a Q&A session, she decided to step out of her shoes and venture out among the crowd. Ron, realizing that idea might not be the best use of Carrie, approached the podium for a mic to wander the audience himself for questions. Carrie’s comment? She called Ron a pervert. He, in turn said, “Carrie, it’s so nice to meet both of you.” As he did his “Phil Donahue” wandering through the audience, organizers suggested that Ron might want to wind things up. Announcing to guests and Carrie that this was the last questions, Carrie, instead of thanking him, again called him a “pervert.”

Luncheon organizers then passed the word that the post-lunch photo shoot of sponsors and Carrie would not occur. Carrie’s assistant asked Ron to meet with Carrie privately, at which time she apologized for calling him a “pervert” (twice).

One guest, who spoke for many in the audience, sympathized with the situation, saying, “If you didn’t realize the challenges of mental health and the need to help those suffering from it, then today was a true display of why Metrocare is so needed.”

Indeed, Carrie’s behavior only put a spotlight on the issues that Metrocare Services deals with 365 days a year.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Homeward Bound Inc.

UPDATE: Due to damage from spring rains, Irving will not be able to have our site ready in four weeks! Mountain Creek Park is north of I-30 on MacArthur to Hunter Ferrell Road east or Loop 12 west on Shady Grove to Nursery south which runs into Hunter Ferrell, or continue on Shady Grove to MacArthur south to Hunter Ferrell then east.

According to Homeward Bound Inc. Community Communication Director Betsy Simnacher,

“The Run for Recovery 5K/10K benefits the nonprofit Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound’s mission is to save families and change lives by treating people with mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction.

“The Saturday, September 12th run in Irving is being presented by 2nd Chance Ministries of Farmers Branch. The sponsor is Idabel Chiropractic Clinic, and the run website is The site is Richardson Park on Campion Trails in Irving.

“Very few of Homeward Bound’s clients can pay for treatment, so the 501(c)(3) nonprofit relies on grants and donations to fund treatment for about 5,000 clients each year. Homeward Bound’s 152-bed Dallas facility is the largest of its kind in North Texas and one of the largest in Texas.

“Clients will be running but will not be able to pay the registration fee, so 2nd Chance Ministries is providing an option on the run website for people to sponsor runners. All donations will go directly to Homeward Bound’s mission to help people achieve recovery. The run is just one of the healthy alternatives Homeward Bound offers to its clients, who are motivated to overcome mental illness and addiction.

“Most will be successful. Typically, clients stay from four to 30 days. Eighty percent will finish treatment. We know that program completion usually indicates a long-term positive result. More than 75 percent checked at a three-month follow-up are still clean and sober.

“We know that people who come to us sincerely want to stop cycling through the emergency room and end the downward spiral of homelessness and poverty. They tell us so in messages that arrive through our website. A typical message reads: ‘I’m so so tired but at the same time so so scared. I’ve tried getting sober before only to get everybody’s hopes up, and I let them down. Very, very tired of hurting people around me, including myself.’

“We also hear from them on the other side, when they complete treatment. ‘This place saved my life. Without the staff, I would probably be dead. I love them all dearly,’ was a recent comment on our Facebook page.

“We hope you will join us in our mission by sponsoring one of our runners, running yourself, or donating through the Run for Recovery website (click on ‘Register Now’ for all these options) or our own website, Thank you.”

Actress/Author Carrie Fisher To Discuss Her Struggle With Bipolar Disorder At Metrocare’s Meal For The Minds

Carrie Fisher*

Carrie Fisher*

She comes from Hollywood royalty and has created quite a name for herself. Why she even managed to be an intergalactic princess and at one point was married briefly to singer Paul Simon. The 5’1″ lady is none other than author and actress Carrie Fisher, who also happens to be the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and the late Eddie Fisher.

But her life has not been all red carpets and charming chit-chat. While some might have described her as a precocious kid and a character as a young adult, it wasn’t until full-fledged adulthood that she was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Even then she didn’t realize how disruptive it could be. Just two years ago the condition caused her to go “completely off the rails” while on a Caribbean cruise causing headlines.

She’s been very candid about her struggles with living with the disorder and will bring that discussion to Meal for the Minds benefiting Metrocare at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, September 24.

Meal For The Minds*

Meal For The Minds*

And, yes, organizers guarantee that the Edible Auction and Art Sale will be part of the day’s fundraising.

* Photo and graphic 
courtesy of