YPO Gold Members Get A Class In Genetics At Baylor’s Sammons Center

John D. Harkey Jr. is a true Renaissance man. Besides heading up the Dallas company called Consolidated Restaurant Operations, he’s a longtime private-equity investor and co-founder of a gene therapy company called AveXis Inc., which Goldman Sachs recently took public. He’s also a director of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and, together with Peni Barfield, the current education chair for the Dallas YPO Gold group—a group of successful CEOs who are at least age 49. 

John Harkey, Peni Barfield and Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive

So, it made perfect sense when John went last June to Robin Robinson, president of the Baylor Foundation, and asked whether Baylor would consider hosting the YPO group for a dinner and educational session on the increasingly important field of genetics. Robin not only said yes, he said, “It’s on us.” Which led to the event for about 100 YPO Gold members and their spouses Thursday, March 2, at Baylor’s Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. 

Stephen Lerer, Libby Allred and Barbara Crow

Myrna Schlegel

Patty and Mark Langdale

As attendees including Craig Hall, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Brent Christopher, Barbara and Steve Durham, Libby Allred, Barbara Crow, Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive, Caroline and Rick O’BrienJane Saginaw Lerer and Stephen Lerer, Ashley Arnold, Leslie and Nick Merrick, Patty and Mark Langdale, and Todd Furniss gathered to enjoy the delicious dinner, there was an extra sense of anticipation in the air. About 70 of the 100, it seems, had agreed in advance a while ago to undergo genetic testing. And tonight, the results of their collective—and anonymous—gene profiles were going to be revealed. Talk about a dessert surprise!

Rick OBrien

Leslie Merrick

Nick Merrick

Jane Saginaw Lerer

Before introducing several top experts in the field to the YPOers, Robin told the group that genetics is “one of the fastest-moving areas in medicine,” and that he himself had “spit in a cup” once for the company called 23andMe. The result: Robin was told that 95 percent of his ancestors were from Northwest Europe … and he had a 70 percent chance of hair loss!

Richard Gibbs

The foundation president then gave way to Richard Gibbs, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. Gibbs explained that there are several good reasons for a person to pursue genetic testing, including if you have a genetic disease or if you’re considering having children.

Next on the program were Peter Dysert II, M.D., who’s chief of the pathology department at Baylor University Medical Center, and George Jackson “Jack” Snipes, M.D., Ph.D., the co-medical director, molecular pathology, at BUMC. Snipes explained some genome basics, and shared the amazing fact that humans share 99.5 percent to 99.9 percent of their DNA with each other. The more “SNPs” (or “snips”) that you share with a group—SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people—the more you are like that group, Jack went on.

With that, it was time to reveal the YPO Gold group’s collective genetic profile. In terms of average ethnicity, the experts explained, the bulk of the group broke down like this: 36 percent were of British/Irish ancestry; 26 percent were German/French; 14 percent were Ashkenazi Jew; and 7 percent were Scandinavian. Then the experts turned to the business of recessive genes among the group, and revealed the following: 22 of the 70 (or 31 percent) were carriers of 29 different inherited genetic disorders. Three were carriers for cystic fibrosis; three were carriers for Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (that’s an error in cholesterol synthesis); and three were carriers for “apnea following anesthesia.” 

Robin Robinson, Peter Dysert II, Jack Snipes, Michelle Shiller, Connie Bormans and James Denison

But, that’s not all as scary as it might sound, the group was told. While everyone is very likely a carrier for something, it’s important to know, especially for your children’s sake, whether both of your parents may have carried recessive genes, the attendees learned. With that, James C. Denison, Ph.D.—he’s the resident scholar for ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health—told how his son had suffered from a very rare form of cancer caused by a genetic mutation, and how he prays every day that the mutation will be reversed.

The evening wrapped up with a presentation by a Houston company called Gene By Gene Ltd., which started off specializing in DNA-based ancestry and geneology before expanding into the medical and research fields. The company’s mission is to “unleash the power of genetic testing for everyone, giving unparalleled insight into ourselves and the future.” Filing out of the Sammons Center around 9 p.m., members of the YPO Gold group had a much better understanding of that power—thanks to Robin, John, and Peni.  

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Baylor Health Care System Foundation YPO Gold Supper

John Harkey, Peni Barfield and Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive

The Baylor Health Care System Foundation hosted a dinner for Dallas’ YPO Gold members and their spouses. But what was served up was more than just a tasty meal on Thursday, March 2, at the Charles Sammons Center. The genetic makeup of the guests was the main course provided by experts in the field of medicine and ethics.

Myrna Schlegel

Craig Hall

As the post is being prepared, get a look at some of the gold-standard types of YPO at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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.

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

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

Jim Hinton, Lindalyn Adams and Margo Goodwin*

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

Michal Powell, Robin Robinson and Aileen Pratt*

Pryor Blackwell*

Jill Smith*

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

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

Greg dePrisco*

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

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

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

Jim Hinton*

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

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

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

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

Dr. Dan DeMarco Got Pretty Gutsy At The Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Luncheon

The word “gut” is usually not one that comes up at lunch. But on Tuesday, December 13, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board literally gutted up to learn about gastrointestinal research and developments.

Paula Walker

Ashley Jones

But before it kicked off, the Board members were entertained by musicians and artists like Ashley Jones from Baylor’s Arts in Medicine program at Sammons Cancer Center. Developed by Bonnie Pittman, the program is provided free-of-charge for cancer patients at Baylor as a creative therapy thanks to a donation by Paula Walker. Another part of the program is for musicians to play at bedside. When the program began in 2015, there were 300 requests for musical practitioners. This past year the monthly rate had risen to more than 2,000.

Margo Goodwin, Leonard Riggs and Annette Simmons

Amy Turner

Jerry Fullinwider and Martha Hackbarth

As guests like Nancy Dedman, Kelly Green, Richard Holt, Kathy Crow, Michal Powell, Amy Turner, Julie Turner, Su-Su Meyer, Leonard Riggs, Annette Simmons, Jerry Fullinwider, Martha Hackbarth, Trisha Wilson, Randi Halsell, Jill Smith, Paul Stoffel, Sharon McCullough, ­­­Lana and Barry Andrews and Tavia Hunt settled in their chairs at the Sammons Cancer Center, Foundation Chair Margo Goodwin reported that Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Aileen Pratt and Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale had raised $1.8M for breast cancer research. Taking over the leadership for the 2017 Celebrating Women will be Tucker Enthoven as luncheon chair and Ola Fojasek as underwriting chair. 

Aileen Pratt

Tavia Hunt

With tongue firmly in cheek, Margo explained that due to the day’s subject matter the presentation would be held after the meal was consumed.

No need. For the presentation, Margo and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson had gotten retired Dr. Dan DeMarco to explain the various components of the digestive system. In introducing Dan, Robin admitted that he had done research by reading “Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ” by Giulia Enders. He described it as “a really cheeky, easy-to-read guide about both the secrets and the science of our digestive system. I recommend it. It’s a neat read.”

Dan DeMarco

And, yes, the topic did have a “yuck factor” about it, but with the charm of a leprechaun and the knowledge and skill of a recognized health care provider, Dan took the SRO crowd through the various steps of the gastrointestinal system, or as Robin put it, “from stem to stern.”

 Dan started off by recalling years ago, an Australian doctor — Dr. Barry Marshall — claimed that bacteria, not acid, caused ulcers. Experts poo-pooed the idea, despite the doctor’s even swallowing bacteria to prove his point. Years later, he was proved right and won the 2005 Noble Prize.  

In addition to “Gut,” Dan suggested another book that was easy-to-read-and-digest: “Gulp” by Mary Roach.

Then he rolled out some facts that impressed one and all.

  • 80% of our immune cells reside in the gut
  • The gut sends emotional signal to the brain — suggesting we “feel” with our gut first.
  • Gastro-intestinal conditions can be seen as the “mental illness” of your gut.
  • Food affects your mood, and not just “comfort food.”
  • You have 10 times as many microbes as cells in your body. The health of these communities determines your overall health. Collectively, these communities are called the microbiome.
  • Digestive insufficiencies contribute to a wide range of health issues, including migraine headaches, depression, arthritis, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and more.
  • Lactose intolerance increases with age.
  • Gluten sensitivity is “relatively rare. It has to be confirmed with blood testing and intestinal biopsy. Certainly people do feel different on a gluten-free diet. People swear by it, but it’s probably not just the gluten. It’s due to other factors.”
  • Antibiotics kill bacteria. With the wide-spread use of antibiotics, the few bacteria that the antibiotics don’t kill get stronger, become resistant and become super bugs. Not everything should be treated with antibiotics.
  • Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria that help the digestive system.
  • Microbiome is the entire community of germs. By analyzing the microbiome, it is possible to create an individual’s “fingerprint” regarding their makeup. For instance, if antibiotics are given the first two or three years of life, they influence the microbiome.
  • Microbiome may have more of an effect on our makeup and well-being than genetics.
  • Diseases like Parkinsons, Lupus and others may be the result of the microbiome.
  • Microbiome is affected by whether you were born via C-section or natural delivery and if you were breast fed.
  • The gut affects the immune system, moods, personality and attitude. About 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut. The gut is sometimes referred to as “The Second Brain.”
  • The small intestine is 21 feet long, which results in food taking about six hours to reach the colon.

The small intestine’s length was one of the challenges that had faced the medical community in detecting health problems. It was only accessible via the operating room. The traditional colonoscopy could only go so far, Dan said, but he had been involved in the creation of a new treatment combining the Double Balloon Scope and Spiral Component being “dropped from the top down.” The result was the shortening of the intestine “like rolling up your sleeve.” This procedure made it possible for the small intestine to be examined without trauma and reduced the six-hour traditional examination to a mere 30 minutes. It is currently going through national clinical trials for approval.

Another developments that is being tested at Baylor is the TransPyloric Shuttle for moderately overweight people and fecal transplants for colon diseases.

In conclusion, Dan discussed the gastroenterologist fellows program at Baylor in which, each year, two are selected to be part of the three-year program after finishing their training as internal medicine doctors. Emphasizing the need for gastroenterologists, he added that those participating in the fellowship program tended to stay locally.

To summarize his presentation, he suggested three take-home points:

  1. Think outside of the box
  2. Embrace new technology
  3. Keep learning, keep teaching and “support our fellowship program.”

Upon his retirement, Dan and his wife, Dr. Cara East, created an endowment to support a fellowship and, thanks to the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, more than a million dollars was raised resulting in the DeMarco Fellow each year that is fully funded.

Jim Turner and Joel Allison

Following Dan’s presentation, Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board of Trustees Chair Jim Turner told the foundation board members about the new Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Jim Hinton and extolled the accomplishments of retiring Baylor Scott & White Health CEO Joel Allison. Among them: during Joel’s 23-year tenure, he grew Baylor from a $1-billion asset healthcare system to $10 billion today; the merger with Scott & White; heading up 45,000 employees, 48 hospitals and countless other undertakings resulting in Baylor being one of the top ten not-for-profit healthcare companies in the country and the leading not-for-profit in Texas.

While Joel will officially retire on his birthday (Wednesday, February 1), he will remain as an advisor to Jim Turner. This relationship dates back to their days at Baylor University, when Jim was on the basketball team and Joel played football.

According To Lisa Singleton, “The Nonprofit Life Is No Party”

Nonprofits deserve respect. Some out-of-touch types still consider the fundraising sector as goody-two-shoe people who use guilt and pity to get a donation. Those unknowing ones probably still think the buggy whip will make a comeback.

A remarkable article was recently written by Dallas volunteer fundraiser/ Brunswick Group Director Lisa Singleton for the Brunswick Review about the professionalism of nonprofits especially in North Texas. It’s an easy read and reveals how area nonprofits, like any for-profit corporation, applied practices and strategy to not just rebound but to tackle the growing needs of the 21st century.    

By Lisa Singleton*

Lisa Singleton (File photo)

As the economy tightened after 2008 and corporate boards came under intense pressure to deliver for shareholders, the nonprofit world was also struggling. Charitable giving dwindled, straining the ability of organizations to fulfill their missions, and more donors sought closer accountability for their contributions.

Nonprofit boards were forced to evolve. Once considered pastimes for the leisure class, today they operate much more as for-profits do, with strong business people at the helm and rigorous expectations for members. No longer can they afford to be seen as volunteer opportunities or social stepping stones – the purview of those who want to use the board to broaden their network or increase their standing in the community. Donors who want to have their name on the board but do little else are finding few open doors.

“It’s not just well-intentioned people running these organizations, as in the past,” says Paige Flink, Executive Director of The Family Place, the largest service provider for victims of family violence in the Dallas area. “What we are seeing now are nonprofit leaders with distinct skills suited to advancing the organization.”

Paige Flink (File photo)

Rowland “Robin” Robinson (File photo)

Rowland K. Robinson, President of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation in Dallas, says expectations are changing. “The nonprofit business is extremely competitive,” he says, “and the board needs to reflect the environment where dollars are under pressure.”

Robinson looks for directors who can offer an exact mix of resources and skills to best support fundraising efforts.

“I look for three characteristics: a connection with my organization; passion for what we do; and resources – either their own or from elsewhere, but they need access to the means to give. I need all three from my members.”

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff, CEO of North Texas Public Broadcasting, a nonprofit media organization, agrees: “If someone is searching for a board seat to raise their profile or for personal gain, we are not the right fit. I need business people who are passionate advocates for what we do. My donors are my shareholders, and I need to keep them happy. The right board can make that happen.”

The professionalization of the nonprofit board brings inherent challenges that would seem familiar to any publicly traded corporation, such as succession planning, term limits and director evaluation. Putting best practices into place can make all the difference.

“The term for a board chair can have a significant impact on an organization,” says Alhadeff. Term limits and other structural parameters need to be balanced to deliver the organization’s vision, she says. Board member responsibilities and measures of effectiveness need to be spelled out for the relationship with management to be successful.

“At The Family Place, in vetting potential board members, we communicate the expectations clearly, up front,” says Flink. “Then, a board ‘report card’ is compiled at the start of each year – did they do what was outlined? Did they deliver against expectations? There is very real accountability.”

Both Robinson and Alhadeff stress that effective executive or advisory committees are critically important. While the full board can be effective as ambassadors for an organization, these smaller panels function as advisers for the CEO and management staff and are often where the real work gets done.

In the end, getting board dynamics right is critical to the ability of any nonprofit to fulfill its mission.

“The board of directors can be the single biggest threat to a nonprofit,” says Alhadeff, “but also its single biggest opportunity to achieve its goals.”

– See more at: https://www.brunswickgroup.com/publications/brunswick-review/boardroom-issue-10/nonprofit-boards/#sthash.wyvDFNIi.dpuf

* Reprinted courtesy of Brunswick Group

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.

Lee Jarmon Pro Am Golf Tournament Benefits Baylor AT&T Memory Center

Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson usually shaves off his summer beard at the end of August. But evidently he’s been just too dang busy to apply blade to whiskers.

On Wednesday, September 21, Robin’s smile shown through the facial hair as he received a simply lovely $145,000 check from Steve Folsom and Matt Bryan at the Crescent Club.

David Howe, Elisa Stephens, Matt Bryan, Robin Robinson, Steve Folsom, Kimberly Doyle and Stacy Stephens

David Howe, Elisa Stephens, Matt Bryan, Robin Robinson, Steve Folsom, Kimberly Doyle and Stacy Stephens

The check was the result of the May 16th Lee Jarmon Pro Am Golf Tournament at Gleneagles Country Club that Steve and Matt had co-chaired. On hand for the presentation were Baylor neuropsychologist Dr. Kimberly Doyle, tournament committee member Dave Howe, tournament staffers Elisa Stephens and Stacey Stephens and Baylor Foundation’s Jennifer Huntsberry, Susan McSherry, Angela Randall and Tim Moore.

Jennifer Huntsberry, Angela Randall, Tim Moore and Susan McSherry

Jennifer Huntsberry, Angela Randall, Tim Moore and Susan McSherry

While it was the 28th anniversary of the tournament, it was the first year that the Baylor Foundation had been selected as a third-party beneficiary.

The funds will be used to support the Baylor AT&T Memory Center. And it seemed so fitting, since the tournament was named in honor of the late businessman/auto dealer Lee Jarmon, who “was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the 1980’s.” The battle came to an end with Lee’s death on July 10, 1997 at the age of 81.

The Focus Is On Health At Baylor Foundation’s Quarterly Board Meeting

The theme for the first Baylor Health Care System Foundation board of directors meeting of the new (2017) fiscal year may have been “Integrative Medicine: Leveraging New Perspectives for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit.” But it was apparent at the Tuesday, September 20th quarterly board meeting that the Foundation itself is in pretty good health, too.

Sporting a new white beard he called “an August project,” Foundation President Robin Robinson told the luncheon meeting that the organization now had raised more than $581 million for the healthcare system since its founding. The foundation has a new tagline—“Let’s Move Mountains”—Robin disclosed, and the last fiscal year was its best ever in fundraising terms. Thirty-seven million dollars came through the doors, he said, or 128 percent of the goal. The foundation also distributed $43 million to the system during the 2016 fiscal year, Robin said, bringing total disbursements over five years to $175 million.

Board Chair Margo Goodwin had good news for the board members as well. The foundation’s most recent annual Grand Rounds golf tournament was a record-breaker, Margo announced, with 229 golfers helping raise $290,000. Board giving during the last fiscal year enjoyed 100 percent participation, she went on, with 20 percent of the board members ponying up more than $25,000.

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Margo also talked briefly about the responsibilities of new foundation board members. The “Class of 2017” members are: Kenneth Aboussie Jr., Barry Andrews, Norm Bagwell, Mike Barnett, Hal Brierley, Darlene Cass, Robert Dozier, Graciela Garton M.D., Jim Lozier, Holt Lunsford, Gloria Martindale, Amy Mueller (ex-officio), Michal Powell, Bruce Robson, Ken Schnitzer, Jill Smith, Bob Thomas, Amy Turner and John Yeaman.

Following lunch and a brief report from Joel Allison, the health system’s outgoing CEO—Joel said Baylor had acquired another medical center in Austin, and finalists to succeed him should be disclosed by late October—Dr. Carolyn Matthews delivered a keynote talk about how “chronic illness is burdening” the American health system in general, and what can be done about it.

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Chronic illnesses such as depression, obesity (67 percent of us are overweight or obese), cancer, diabetes (10 percent of us have it), and asthma require repeated treatment, Dr. Matthews explained, and 50 percent of adults will suffer from at least one of them. But the good news, she stressed, is that all of these chronic illnesses are “very modifiable” with exercise, sleep, and a proper diet.

Several habits will help reduce your risk for chronic illness, continued Dr. Matthews, who is Director of Integrative and Functional Medicine at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. Those habits include: refraining from smoking; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day; doing some sort of physical activity (150 minutes per week is recommended, even if it’s just walking); and aiming for seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night.

During a Q&A session near the end of the meeting, someone asked Dr. Matthews why eating right seems to be so difficult for so many. “Because the vast majority of food in the grocery store is not real food,” she replied. “The quality of our food is not as good as it was 50 years ago,” she continued, citing “genetically modified food” among other trends. Ideally everyone would eat organic food if they could afford it, Dr. Matthews concluded, but, at a minimum, the meat you eat should be grass-fed and any fish should be of the small variety, like salmon.

* Photos provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

MySweetCharity Opportunity: CancerBlows

According to Cancer Blows Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill,

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

“CancerBlows was meant to be a one-time musical event bringing together legendary trumpet players in a special concert and after party benefiting the Baylor Health Care System Foundation cancer programs and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation with donations channeled through The Ryan Anthony Foundation in 2015.  Trumpeters included Doc Severinsen from ‘The Tonight Show,’ Lee Loughnane from Chicago, Arturo Sandoval, former trumpet players from Canadian Brass-all referred to as the Thirty Trumpet Legends.

Ryan Anthony*

Ryan Anthony*

“The event sold out and raised more than $1 million in cash and in-kind donations to help Ryan Anthony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet and former Canadian Brass member, raise money for cancer research.  Ryan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a typically terminal cancer of the bone, in 2012.  Fortunately, with great medical care Ryan remains in remission.  He and his wife, Niki Anthony, realized the event could be more than just a concert with funds used to raise awareness and money to further research that has helped give the Ryan family hope for the future.

“Just a decade ago, multiple myeloma was a death sentence with life span of three to five years.  While the cancer is considered incurable and terminable, recent advances in research have greatly expanded the life span of newly diagnosed patients.  In 2015, three new drugs were approved for treatment of multiple myeloma by the FDA increasing treatment options by 20 percent.

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

“CancerBlows will return to Dallas on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with The Legends Concert followed by the After Party in the lobby.  Approximately 2,000 guests will experience the concert and approximately 300 guests will be included the in the After Party festivities.

 

“We thrilled to announce that philanthropists Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger are serving as honorary chairmen.

“There are a myriad of sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 CancerBlows event ranging from Presenting Sponsor to Student Experience Sponsor which allows students the opportunity to attend CancerBlows events, classes, discussions and meet and greet with event performers.

“Please visit www.CancerBlows.com for more information.”

* Photo provided by CancerBlows

D’Andra Simmons-Lock And Jeremy Lock Put Their Own Spin On Letter Signing For CancerBlows Host Committee

Letter signings may seem ho-hum after your second or third one. They usually take place during the day with loads of munchies and ice tea and stacks of letters to personalize. The drill is sign your name to the letter with a note and pass it along to the next person at the table. But leave it to 2017 CancerBlows Co-Chair D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock to put their own spin on the John Hanocking of the fundraising host committee invite letters.

Ryan Anthony

Ryan Anthony

On Monday, July 18, they held the signing in the evening with glasses of wine and the event’s man-of-inspiration Ryan Anthony at the kitchen/dining room table. Instead of a chore, it was a party. As guests arrived, Jeremy reported that he had just returned from Alaska with killer photos of people and scenes. Pointing out his Burning Man collection framed on the wall, he revealed that his next project involves National Geographic.

But as soon as Ryan in his CancerBlows sports shirt arrived with boxes of letters, the crew took their places at the glass-top table.

D'Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock

D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock

Despite a political convention on the TV screen overhead, no one seemed to notice Anderson Cooper reporting on CNN. They were all focused on the letters. D’Andra took a moment to recall her past signings that had resulted in hand surgery. Then Jeremy cleared his voice signaling to get back to work.

According to the letters, D’Andra, Jeremy and their Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill have arranged for Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger to serve as honorary co-chairs. And like the 2015 event benefiting Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, CancerBlows will be return to the Meyerson on Wednesday, May 10, with an ensemble of world-famous musicians including Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Canadian Brass, members of Ryan’s home team at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and many more.

CancerBlows*

CancerBlows*

Among the perks that members of the host committee will receive will be invitations to special events and recognition in promotional materials, at the event, on the post-event CD/DVD and on the website.

If you haven’t gotten your letter, contact Ryan’s hardworking wife Niki Anthony and she’ll make sure you’re at the top of the list. And, yes, there are all types of sponsorship opportunities available.

*  Graphic provided by CancerBlows           

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Is Served Up Future Plans And Causes For Growing Concern About Skin Cancers

Financial progress, personnel transitions, and skin care—specifically, “Dermatology Innovations and Skin-Care Secrets”—were on the agenda Tuesday, May 10, when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board held its quarterly luncheon meeting at Dallas’ Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

Rowland Robins, Tavia Hunt, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison*

Rowland Robins, Tavia Hunt, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison*

After attendees like Ken Schnitzer, Shannon Skokos, Tom Dunning, Jill Smith, Barry Andrews, Aileen Pratt and Richard Holt took their seats in the center’s big meeting room, Foundation Chair Margo Goodwin got right down to business by noting that the FY 2016 Board Giving Campaign, which wraps up Thursday, June 30, had reached 85 percent of its goal. “It’s not the size of the gift,” Margo pointedly reminded the board members, “it’s the fact that 100 percent of our board will give.”

Jim Turner*

Jim Turner*

She then turned over the podium to Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board Chair Jim Turner, who gave a detailed update on the process to find a successor to Joel Allison. Joel, who’s CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health, announced previously that he would step down officially on February 1, 2017. Turner told the board about the hiring of Witt/Kieffer, an executive-recruiting firm whose Atlanta-based practice specializes in CEO searches for healthcare firms. A search committee has also been named, Turner said, and its members would be interviewing a number of hospital “stakeholders” to create the “ideal CEO profile.”

Once that profile is completed, Turner explained, Phase Two of the search would kick in. First, Witt/Kieffer will review both “internal and external” candidates through July. A select group of those candidates should be selected by the end of August, Turner said, and, ideally, finalists would be ready for official consideration by the middle of September. Turner is aiming to have a candidate to take to the board for their consideration by Saturday, October 1, with the finalist hired and “on board by October 30.”

That timetable would give the new CEO time during the transition period to learn the ropes from Allison, who will “step into his role as adviser to me by February,” Turner concluded.

Then it was time for Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson to talk about another sort of transition: new members replacing “old” ones on the foundation board. “Rolling off” the board on Thursday, June 30, would be Glenn Callison, Dunning, James N. Miller, William F. Miller III, Beverly Nichols, Wade Reed, John Tolleson and Terry Worrell.

Then a third sort of transition was addressed: the replacement of Dr. Alan Menter as chairman of the Division of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas with incoming chairman Dr. Clay J. Cockerell, who will assume his new duties on Friday, July 1. Cockerell and the legendary Dr. Menter were joined in a panel discussion titled “More Than Skin Deep” by Dr. Catriona Ryan, vice chair of Dermatology, Dermatology Residency Program at the Baylor University med center.

Catriona Ryan, Clay Cockerell and Alan Menter*

Catriona Ryan, Clay Cockerell and Alan Menter*

Cockerell said his goal is to “double the size” of the dermatology program over the next five years. Menter, who’s had a longtime focus on improving psoriasis treatment, said that despite stepping down as dermatology chairman, he would continue practicing after July 1. Ryan explained that Baylor has “upped what we do” for melanoma patients at the hospital. Asked by an audience member “what to do for crow’s feet,” Ryan stressed the importance of a skin-care regimen, using sunblock every morning, and applying Retin-A at night. Finally, all three doctors warned against the use of tanning beds, citing studies showing that 95% of women who developed skin cancer in their 20s and 30s had used tanning beds at some point.

The foundation’s next board meeting will be on Tuesday, September 20.

* Photos provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

JUST IN: Cancer Blows Will Be Blowing This Way Come May To Battle Multiple Myeloma With All-Star Chairs

D’Andra Simmons-Lock is going to be spending a lot of time at the Meyerson in May. As if she didn’t have enough on her agenda chairing The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon on Monday, May 1, at the Meyerson, she’s added another ball to juggle. After launching Cancer Blows last year to raise funds for multiple myeloma, she’s just signed up to co-chair the 2nd Cancer Blows on Wednesday, May 10. And, yes, it will take place at the Meyerson.

Cancer Blows*

Cancer Blows*

Luckily, she’s going to have some heavy hitters helping her. Of course, it wouldn’t be Cancer Blows without Niki and Ryan Anthony, who inspired the creation of the multiple-myeloma fundraiser.

Back story: Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Ryan was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a terminal cancer of the bone marrow that usually hits folks over 65. Ryan was just 43. Thanks to research and developments, Ryan’s treatments resulted in his remission. During his battle with the disease, he was overwhelmed by the support of trumpet players from all over the world. The Anthonys finished battling multiple myeloma and created The Ryan Anthony Foundation to provide funding for additional efforts.

Joining D’Andra, Niki and Ryan will be D’Andra’s husband, award-winning photographer Jeremy Lock, and her buds Anne and Steve Stodghill.

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

Anne and Steve Stodghill (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

Making the leadership a true home run is the addition of Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger as honorary co-chairs!

All of these folks are on board because they have firsthand knowledge of how cancer can dramatically change the lives of the patients, as well as their families.

The evening will include a concert by some of the world’s most prestigious trumpets and an after-party at the Meyerson with the concert being simulcast to a nearby location and live streamed.

Funds raised from the concert and after-party will benefit Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

Stay tuned for the list of artists who will be making music history and big bucks to tackle multiple myeloma.

* Graphic provided by Cancer Blows

 

‘Victory Dance’ Marks Over-The-Top Successful Fundraising Campaign For Baylor Health Foundation

If the mood was enthusiastic at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s A Night of Gratitude at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, April 26, there was a very good reason. The foundation, after all, had just announced the successful completion of its first-ever comprehensive funding campaign, Campaign 2015: Baylor Makes Us All Better.

The campaign, which had an original goal of $250 million, had busted past that mark to hit $270 million. And it was bound to be counting even more cash, with the official closing not scheduled until the end of June.

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock*

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock*

As the 300 Night of Gratitude guests like Margo and Bill Goodwin, Ellen and Alan Miller, D’Andra Simmons Lock and Jeremy Lock, Christie Carter, and Debbie Oates, poured into the DCC, one of them exclaimed: “This is our little victory dance.”

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

And the place was decked out to match the celebration. In the reception area was a huge backdrop of multi-squares, some were filled with dazzling small squares, some with the Baylor Health Care System logo and others spelling out “A Night of Gratitude.” That only hinted at what lay within the ballroom that had been transformed with back-lit white curtains covering the walls and lounging areas and tables set up throughout. At one end of the room was a stage with a backdrop and the word “Gratitude” in script.

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

What made the campaign so successful? “I’ve got a great team, and a great board to sell for,” said Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson, as he greeted guests not far from Baylor Scott & White Health President/CEO Joel Allison and Foundations Board Chair Jim Turner.

Glenn Callison*

Glenn Callison*

Pam Busbee*

Pam Busbee*

Richard Eiseman*

Richard Eiseman*

But according to Baylor’s Plano medical center Board Chair Glenn Callison, Robinson was being too modest. “I saw what it was like before Robin joined and since he’s been here, and it’s been absolutely phenomenal,” Glenn said. “He’s the best-kept secret in philanthropy.”

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

As guests including newlyweds Hillary and Shepherd Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail, Jill Smith, Trisha Wilson, Pam Busbee, Randi and Ed Halsell, Richard Eiseman Virginia Chandler Dykes, Lydia and Dan Novakov, Marilyn Augur, Pam and VIn Perella, Richard Eiseman, Shelle and Michael Sills and Carolyn and David Miller enjoyed dinner and music by Hunter Sullivan and his band, more than a few decided to turn the Night of Gratitude into a literal “victory dance.” After all, they knew, more than 30,000 donors had ponied up more than 90,000 gifts for the foundation campaign—including a whopping 40 gifts of $1 million or more. The funds will be invested in patient-focused programs, research, medical education, capital and advanced technology for Baylor Scott & White Health-North Texas.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

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.

JUST IN: 2016 Celebrating Women Speaker, Honorary Co-Chairs And Deets Announced

Believe it or not, there are actually women whom absolutely everybody loves. For instance, there’s one who is beautiful, has a great sense of humor, is totally grounded and has an American sweetheart for a husband. She’s the type that you’d love to hate if you didn’t like her so much.

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

That she is Rita Wilson. No, she’s not one of the Beach Boys’ relatives. Rita is an actress, the producer of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” a singer, a mom and has been married to Tom Hanks for 28 years as of Saturday, April 30. Ah, that Rita Wilson.

Exactly one year ago, Rita’s incredibly perfect life became imperfect. No, it was a scandalous affair or being photographed wearing an itty-bitty thong bikini. It was breast cancer.

For years she had been dutiful in having mammograms due to her “underlying condition of LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ).”  But then it was discovered that she had PLCIS (pleomorphic carcinoma in situ). Initially, the pathology showed no cancer. But Rita’s gut told her to get a second opinion. That one came back confirming cancer.

Like so many women, she tackled it with amazing courage. As she told The Austin American Statesman on Sunday, “When I look back that was a small part of the year — a very impactful part of the year, but it wasn’t something that took up every single bit of my being. You get through it and then you’re on the other side of it.”

Following a double mastectomy and reconstruction, she was cancer free in December and said about her new breasts, “Aren’t they perky! I’m very healthy. I feel great… I often say that breast cancer and the surgery and the reconstruction… was just a part of last year… it’s not just something you spend your entire year or your life doing. However long it takes, it’s part of your life. It doesn’t become your whole life.”

Another helpful piece of healthcare was provided by her husband, “We actually manage to laugh a lot.”

So, where is this leading? Good question. The answer is Rita is coming to Dallas on Thursday, October 20, to be the 2016 Celebrating Women featured speaker at the Hilton Anatole. The announcement was made this morning by Event Chair Aileen Pratt in the Glass House of Neiman Marcus Downtown. Serving as underwriter chair will be Gloria Eulich Martindale.

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

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

Another surprise that had folks smiling was the names of the honorary co-chairs — Diane and Joel Allison, who will be stepping down as Baylor Scott & White CEO in February 2017.

And still another happy item was the return of Tom Thumb as the presenting sponsor.

Thanks to this Baylor Health Care System Foundation luncheon, more than $26M have been raised for breast cancer research, treatments and equipment in the past 16 years. Tickets and sponsorships are available now.

* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

JUST IN: Baylor Scott And White’s Joel Allison To Retire Sorta

Joel Allison (File photo)

Joel Allison (File photo)

Our good buddy Matt Goodman over at D Healthcare Daily just broke the news that former Marine/current Baylor Scott and White Health CEO Joel Allison has announced his retirement.

It’s really not like a sit-on-the-couch type of change. It’s more like moving into a new career.

Starting on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, when Joel officially turns 69, he’ll become senior advisor to the chair of the Board of Baylor Scott and White Health.

In his new position, he “will advise the Board chairman in the areas of advocacy, philanthropy and medical education.”

Joel and his wife of 46 years, Diane Allison, will live in Waco near their alma mater — Baylor University — and Joel will office out of Temple.

Checking with our other good buddy Jen Huntsberry over at Baylor Health Care System Foundation, a nationwide search will take place for Joel’s replacement… as if there were anyone who could replace Joel!

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Luncheon Was The Scene Of Amazing Developments In Physical Rehabilitation

Most folks associate physical rehab with AARP types who are having hips, knees and what all repaired. But on Tuesday, February 9, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board luncheon was filled at Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center to learn about the amazing progress being made dealing with the thousands of spinal cord and traumatic brain (TBI) injuries. Each year Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in partnership with Select Medical Corporation deals with 40,000 patients in their road to recovery.

Patti Foster

Patti Foster

From the invocation by former Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation patient Patti Foster to Baylor Scott and White CEO Joel Allison hinting at what lay ahead, the program was going to run the gamut of personal and breathtaking stories. As Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson advised one guest, “We’ve got Kleenex available.”

And right he was about the need for tissue. From corporate executives to community volunteers like Margo Goodwin, Pryor Blackwell, Nancy Dedman, Lisa Troutt, Richard Holt, Jill Smith, Steve Lieberman, Trisha Wilson, Pierce Allman, Nancy Carter, Kathy Crow, Barry Andrews, Jeff Staubach, Linda Custard and Mike McGuire, all were amazed at what was presented.

Jill Smith, Robin Robinson and Nancy Dedman

Jill Smith, Robin Robinson and Nancy Dedman

Joel Allison and Richard Holt

Joel Allison and Richard Holt

Jeff Staubach, Barry Andrews and Mike McGuire

Jeff Staubach, Barry Andrews and Mike McGuire

First on the program were members of the BIR medical team including physiatrist Dr. Randi Dubiel and clinical researcher Dr. Simon Driver. Randi revealed that traumatic brain injuries have almost become “a kind of epidemic of sorts” with 2.2M victims in the U.S. each year, and 5.2M live with traumatic brain injuries. The BIR team works with the patient to deal with more than the initial physical damage. They work with the patients to adjust to their long-term care and “not just survive their injuries but thrive” in the years to come.

Randi Dubiel

Randi Dubiel

Simon Driver

Simon Driver

Surprising some of the guests, it was revealed that spinal cord and traumatic brain patients have greater problems dealing with obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression.

Simon reported that the research at BIR is “very patient centered.” Involving the patients in the project, he works on the therapy floor with the clinicians to research and develop new techniques to better understand the challenges of the patients. BIR is just one of 16 systems in the country that is recognized as a model system by the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research.

Simon told of two projects underway at BIR:

  1. Persons suffering TBI are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease and diabetes than the general population. Those suffering from spinal cord injuries also share this likelihood. BIR is creating a modified weight-loss program incorporating nutrition and physical activity for spinal cord injured patients.
  2. The development of health literacy to provide patients with a better understanding of their health needs. Too often patients may not fully understand or be uncertain of what the doctor said or how they should proceed. This situation is especially true for TBI and spinal cord patients. BIR is placing an emphasis on better communication between the healthcare providers and the patients.

Then the personal testimonies took place, leading off with a young mother who had been on the Orix legal team. In 2010 she and her kids were in a neighbor’s yard pet sitting when a tree fell. Luckily, her children were spared, but the attorney found herself suffering from a devastatingly complete spinal cord injury paralyzing her from the waist down, resulting in her being dependent upon a wheelchair.

Joel Allison, Elizabeth Dane, Jim Thompson and Robin Robinson

Joel Allison, Elizabeth Daane, Jim Thompson and Robin Robinson

Thanks to the BIR team and her bosses at Orix like Jim Thompson, she slowly adapted to this dramatic life-changing development and rejoined the workforce. But the efforts continued and thanks to advancements in technology, the Ekso-skeleton was developed. Assisted by Joanna Weakley and Dr. Chad Swank, Elizabeth Daane entered from the back of the room. All eyes focused on her as she slowly navigated her way through the tables and chairs in her Ekso-skeleton with the assistance of Chad and Joanna and crutches. Thanks to a computer and battery, Elizabeth was able to stand, walk and move around. It was obvious that the skeleton was not an easy device to maneuver. As Elizabeth demonstrated the skeleton walking through the room, she proved that she hadn’t lost her sense of humor. When asked a question, she responded, “I can’t walk and talk.”

But the skeleton does more than allow the patient to be more mobile. Elizabeth explained how in her case the skeleton’s ability to move the limbs also allowed her to exercise and deal with chronic nerve pain. As Elizabeth described it, “It’s not like the pain when you pull a muscle at the gym. It sounds crazy. So I don’t have normal sensation in my legs. But I feel kind of a sensation that is burning, stabbing, scorching pins and needles on steroids. And I feel it all the time. One thing the Ekso-skeleton does is changes the sensation. It doesn’t make them go away, but it moves them. And when you’ve had the same burning sensation in the same spot for five years, just shifting it from the back of your calf to the front of your calf feels like major relief.”

Chad Swank, Joanna Weakley and Elizabeth Dane

Chad Swank, Joanna Weakley and Elizabeth Dane

While Chad admitted that the Ekso-skeleton price ($175,000) is prohibitive for many, the future of such technology holds even greater opportunities for patients. He explained that it can also be used for stroke victims and anybody with a neurologic injury can potentially benefit from this type of technology.

As Elizabeth left the room, Robin returned to the podium and explained that they were going to switch gears to a TBI case. He introduced Julie Self, who had been a victim of a dramatic car accident. No, Julie had not been in the accident, but outgoing, bright daughter Audrey had been. In November 2013, the SMU coed had just celebrated her 20th birthday. She had been awarded a full academic scholarship and was studying at the Cox School of Business majoring in accounting. On November 21, the entire family including her father Mike and brother Avery undertook saving Audrey’s life and her recovery along with the medical staff. She remained in a coma for 30 days. Coming out of the coma, she was eventually moved to BIR, where “breathing was literally the only thing she could do.” For four months, the team worked with her. Despite her being physically dependent and having very limited short-term memory, the decision was to move her home in April 2014. Still she continued her therapy including occupational therapy at the Tom Landry Center for her hand. She connected with her therapist and talked about him when she got home. “This was a huge step for Audrey. It proved her short-term memory was finally beginning to improve.”

Avery Self, Audrey Self and Mike and Julie Self

Avery Self, Audrey Self and Mike and Julie Self

After two years, the Self family feels that the team of therapists and doctors are like family bringing Audrey through this journey.

Julie then introduced Audrey, who was seated at a nearby table. The 22-year-old looked nothing like the photos of the patient in the hospital bed that had been shown on the screen. She had a beautiful smile and a twinkle in her eye.

Audrey told the room of executives, philanthropists and community leaders: “Life is hard for everyone. We make the choice every day whether or not to make the best of what we have in front of us. I have always been someone who likes to set goals and plan ahead. But life is not like writing a book. We cannot plan for the unexpected. And we cannot control our outcome in everything we do. The little things, the baby steps add up to be the big steps. This impacts every aspect of our lives from recovery, relationships and overall life. With hard work, patience, perseverance and time, each baby step adds up and suddenly we realize we are making significant strides.”

She feels that she is the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves, and that “Hope means nothing is impossible.”

After the applause settled down, Robin told how last fall the Foundation team arranged for Don Wills and Don Jackson of the Ginger Murchison Foundation to meet Audrey. Then he asked her what her future plans were. She said that she’s going back to SMU in the fall.

Robin said, “Let me stop you right there.” He told her how 46 years ago he had been a student in Don Jackson’s finance class at SMU. Robin then let Julie pick up the connection between Don Jackson and Audrey. It seems that due to the accident, there had been some issues dealing with Audrey’s full scholarship and her returning as a part-time student.

Learning of the situation, Don got the situation straightened out and the next day the Selfs received a call saying that her scholarship had been adjusted to meet her needs.

Don Jackson and Audrey Self

Don Jackson and Audrey Self

Surprising all, Don presented Audrey with a SMU cap and told how SMU, like Baylor, would “be ready in every way possible to make her life easy. We are going to find her the best faculty. We’re going to find her the best ways to get around with our special people who work with students with special needs. Her scholarship can be for one hour at a time or one course at a time and she can take 20 years, if she needs to … like some guys. But she’s so clever, I expect her to be threw quickly…. I’m going to watch over her and make sure that she gets the best classes she can get. We’re gonna see her walk across that stage one day.”

Robin then made one request of Audrey: that when she gets her degree, she’ll return to tell of her journey at SMU. Without hesitation, she said, “Absolutely!”

As a follow up, Robin then asked Lauren Rachal to stand up. He told that when he met with the two Dons, they talked with Lauren, who had been Audrey’s physical therapist. When they saw a patient who was struggling just to stand with the help of three therapists, someone said, “How sad.” Lauren told them that, “If you walk through BIR one day, it would probably be depressing. But come back the next day and come back the next week and to see the progress that people make and the many things people do turning tragedy into triumph. It is one of the most motivating and inspiring places they could be.”

Baylor Foundation’s Philanthropic Award Dinner Saluted Dodee Frost Crockett And Celebrated The Results Of Collaboration

Wednesday, February 3, was a gathering of eagles at the Nasher Sculpture Center. No, there were no feathers in the flock that cocktailed and dined. Rather, it was a herd of Dallas philanthropists and philanthropic caretakers like Mary Jalonick, Roslyn Dawson, Michael Meadows, Kathy Muldoon, Lucy Buchanan, Tommy McBride, Lisa Ragland, David Yost, Angela Woodson and Robin Robinson.

Dining at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Dining at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Roslyn Dawson and Kathy Muldoon

Roslyn Dawson and Kathy Muldoon

Mike Meadows

Mike Meadows

The occasion was Baylor Foundation’s the Philanthropic Leadership Award dinner. Though not an annual event, this year warranted it because of the recipient — Dodee Frost Crockett, for her reputation for professionalism in financial management and the importance that she places on philanthropy.

Baylor Health Care System Foundation's Philanthropic Leadership Award

Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Philanthropic Leadership Award

On hand to see Dodee receive her award was Dodee’s musician/singer/hubby Billy Crockett of more than 20 years. With a home in Wimberley, Dodee and Billy were asked how the mecca of Texas creativity was faring after last year’s floods. Without hesitation, the couple responded, “We’re going great!”

After dinner Baylor Foundation VP of Gift Planning Cynthia Krause explained the purpose of the Baylor Advisory Program that began six years ago with brown bag lunches. Addressing those financial advisors in the audience, she suggested they could help their clients as well as their community with three reasons:

  1. If they introduce their clients to Baylor, they could also provide their clients with excellent healthcare
  2. When you make a connection with someone in crisis, you can create a greater relationship with that client
  3. For Baylor, it would mean that they would make more friends.

Cynthia herself had experienced Baylor “customer service” at a time of crisis. It took place years ago when she gave birth to triplets. Despite weeks of struggling and the deaths of two of the babies (Benjamin and Catherine), the staff brought up baby Abigail in her incubator to Cynthia, so the young mother could watch her baby and hold her for five minutes each hour: “They knew I had to see I had a baby.”

Seven weeks later Abigail was home. Today that baby is doing an internship in Washington, D.C., after graduating from Baylor University.

Seamlessly, Cynthia brought her story around to the crowd saying, “You will have clients like that who are in need of help during a crisis situation.”

Tommy McBride and Dodee and Billy Crockett

Tommy McBride and Dodee and Billy Crockett

She then introduced Dodee, who immediately admitted that giving was not a natural development. Rather it is influenced by someone else: “Our parents teach us how to share our toys. Maybe we were told stories about generosity, love and sacrifice in our place of worship.”

She recalled a legendary story in her family. When she was a youngster of four or five, she saw something in a story that she really wanted — a giant plastic Easter egg filled to the brim with toys and goodies. Dodee begged her parents for the egg. Naturally, her younger sister also wanted one. On Good Friday her father arrived home with a large paper bag. The girls were so excited that they rushed to meet him in the driveway. Upon being handed the bag, little Dodee dropped it on the concrete resulting in the sound of a crack. Looking inside the sack, Dodee reported to her sister, “Yours broke.” That moment has lived with Dodee for decades.

In her career, Dodee has learned that if a client has no goals that can be facilitated by good proven investment management, they’re not a good fit for her practice.

But if the care and stewardship of wealth toward the goals include family, parents, child, community, learning, medicine, faith, environment and the ease of suffering, then that inspires her more to bring the full resources of her experience to see those to fruition.

She thanked those present who had helped her achieve her goals, including Baylor and her husband Billy.

Returning to the podium, Cynthia then revealed the story of Paula Walker and her pursuing her passion for the arts and helping others. Appreciating the healing element provided by music, she had underwritten a $50,000 gift to provide musicians to play at the bedside of Baylor patients.

Ashley Silva, Lesley Martinelli, Dodee Frost Crockett, Paula Walker, Mary Jalonick and Cynthia Krause

Ashley Silva, Lesley Martinelli, Dodee Frost Crockett, Paula Walker, Mary Jalonick and Cynthia Krause

Paula was so impressed with the project that she wanted to do more. This desire brought Paula’s financial advisor Dodee, her donor advisors at The Dallas Foundation, art expert Bonnie Pitman and Baylor Foundation’s Cynthia together to see if they could create an art-healing program that would continue in the years to come through philanthropy.

When all the ingredients came together, Paula underwrote a $1M-plus gift for the Center for Arts and Medicine. It is the core component for patients to interact with music and artists. It will allow for a better environment for both patients and staff.

Bonnie admitted that her purpose for the evening was to get people to “empty their pockets” for the program. She told how because of her working with Dr. Randy Rosenblatt regarding her pulmonary condition, she had learned how debilitating her situation was. It was during this time that she was still working at the Dallas Museum of Art and sought solace in the galleries. During her treatments, she became a “Johnny Appleseed” telling the medical staff that they had to see the art. Patients who took her up on her suggestion were gratified at having a normal experience outside their treatment.

Pamela Lynch and Bonnie Pittman*

Pamela Lynch and Bonnie Pittman*

Cynthia then returned to the podium and read a letter from transplant patient Pamela Lynch to Bonnie telling her how the Arts in Medicine had been a true turning point in her healing. As if that wasn’t enough, on the screen was a drawing that Pamela had created for Bonnie. Surprised and touched, Bonnie was amazed at the tribute. Then as an added surprise, Cynthia prepared to hand the actual framed drawing that slipped out of her hands. Luckily, it was packed well and survived the oops!

Thanks to Paula, Randy, Bonnie, Dodee, The Dallas Foundation and the Baylor team, the arts program has resulted. It will provide creative outlets for those who have given up hope. It will relieve the stress level. It will improve the communication between patients and staff. It will allow the patient a greater sense of control.

*  Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

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.