MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon

Guests at Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon on Thursday, October 26, at the Hilton Anatole had more to celebrate than raising mega funds for breast cancer. They discovered a new BFF — guest speaker Jamie Lee Curtis.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Abigail Powell and Julie Powell

Lindalyn Adams and Jamie Lee Curtis

While some admitted that they had had no preconceived ideas about the day’s program chaired by Tucker Enthoven, they left the event delighted with Jamie’s honesty, openness, humor and range of subject matter. In fact, one luncheon-attending vet claimed that not since last year’s Hoda Kotb and Tim Gunn appearance had they been so impressed with a presentation.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Robin Robinson

The post is being prepared, so check out the pictures on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Aileen Pratt and Jamie Lee Curtis

Peggy Riggs, Jamie Lee Curtis and Leonard Riggs

Tucker Enthoven, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robin Robinson and Ola Fojtasek

PS — For those who are aficionados of the art of posing for photographers, check out Jamie at the grip-and-grin session. Observers noted how she always stood erect with her head up, looked at the camera straight on, never struck the “sorority-girl pose” and crossed her legs at the ankle in every shot. If you get a chance, just try to strike the “Jamie pose.” It’s a balancing act, but it works.

Thanks To Beautiful Weather, Celebrating Women Patrons Partied Outdoors As Well As Indoors At Cameron And Clay Smith’s Home

Tuesday, October 24, should have been designated “patron night.” With the Dallas Historical Society’s “Award of Excellence Luncheon” patrons at Mary McDermott Cook’s hilltop nest in west Dallas and The Senior Source’s “Spirit of Generations” at Kathy and Larry Helms’ Park Cities home, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s “Celebrating Women” held forth north of town at Cameron and Clay Smith’s digs.

Barbara Stuart, Cynthia Mitchell and Di Johnston

Thanks to the weather being a step above perfect, the Smith’s backyard terrace accommodated the overflow crowd that had Mercedes, Lexuses and other wonderful wheels parked along all the roads leading to house.

Vinnie Reuben

Gathered on round settee in the living room were back-from-the-northeast Cynthia Mitchell with pals Di Johnston and Barbara Stuart across the way from John Stuart and Vinnie Reuben, who is making her victory lap before moving to California at the end of the year.

Tincy Miller, Mary Ann Cree and Jo Anne McCullough

Tincy Miller, Jo Anne McCullough, Mary Ann Cree, Nancy Carter, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Ann Dyer, Margaret and Lester Keliher with daughter Margaret Keliher Hughes, David Camp and Julia Welborn were in the dining room tasting and talking. Pam Perella was giving rave reviews of the Tom Thumb in Turtle Creek Village to Tom Thumb First Lady Connie Yates.

Lester Keliher, Margaret Keliher Hughes and Margaret Keliher

And speaking of first lady types, Lindalyn Adams slowly made her way through the crowd. The problems wasn’t her walk. It was that folks kept stopping to talk with her.

Tucker Enthoven and Jim and Kristen Hinton

Pat McEvoy, Ola Fojtasek, Susan Farris, Robin Robinson and Susan McSherry

On the terrace were Julie Ford, Pat McEvoy, Susan McSherry, Richard Shaw, Susan Farris, Julie Ramirez and Kristen Hinton and husband/Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton were congratulating Celebrating Women Chair Tucker Enthoven for her early sell-out of the fundraiser, while Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson was doing the same for Celebrating Women Underwriting Chair Ola Fojtasek.

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

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

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

Leonard and Peggy Riggs

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon

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

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven (File photo)

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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.

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

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

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

Vinnie Reuben

Vinnie Reuben

Lindalyn Adams and Ann Dyer

Lindalyn Adams and Ann Dyer

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

Aileen Pratt

Aileen Pratt

Gloria Eulich Martindale

Gloria Eulich Martindale

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

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

Michal Powell and Ollie

Michal Powell and Ollie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Lunden*

Joan Lunden*

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Baylor Health 
Care System Foundation

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

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

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison

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

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

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

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

Jeff Byron and Lindalyn Adams

Jeff Byron and Lindalyn Adams

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

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

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

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

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margot Goodwin and Joel Allison

Rowland Robinson, Nancy Carter, Margot Goodwin and Joel Allison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Women

Celebrating Women

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

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

Lindalyn Adams, Fredye Factor and Christie Carter

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

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

Melissa Macatee, Robin Robinson and Barbara Stuart

Melissa Macatee, Robin Robinson and Barbara Stuart

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

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

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

Robin Robinson

Robin Robinson

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

Joel Allison

Joel Allison

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

Amy Robach, Lindalyn Adams, Daffan Nettle and Lisa Longino

Amy Robach, Lindalyn Adams, Daffan Nettle and Lisa Longino

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

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

Amy Robach

Amy Robach

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

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

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

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

Amy Robach

Amy Robach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s Just Nothing Like A Million Dollars

In this day and age when thin is in, don’t you just love an occasional round, plump something. Now, just think about it. The full moon? A glorious, pink peony in full bloom? A juicy, ripe plum?

Well, for the last couple of weeks the ultimate round, plump things have been hitting Dallas fundraisers full blast.

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

First, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women scored a major coup the day before the October 24 lunch benefiting efforts to rid the world of breast cancer. The Baylor crew held their breath and their silence until the luncheon and then Foundation President Robin Robinson announced that the Spangenberg Family Foundation had gifted $1M for the battle. More about that in a later post.

Zoo To Do invitation*

Zoo To Do invitation*

Then word just arrived via Co-Chairs Tiffany Divis’ and Jennifer Houser’s carrier pigeon that the Zoo To Do scored $1M Saturday at the Dallas Zoo fundraiser. More about that in a later post.

Still another million plus was raised at the Dallas Holocaust Museum‘s annual “Hope for Humanity” on Thursday, October 30. This record-breaking year was honoring Stan Rabin.

If you don’t think $1M fits the round, plump description, rethink. A one followed by six zeroes seems pretty darn round and plump around here, especially when it’s benefiting North Texas charities.

Celebrating Women Luncheoners Be Forewarned: Big, Old Surprise Is In Your Future

Just back from the Celebrating Women patron party at Margaret and Barry Hancock’s incredible spot with a perfect view of the Dallas Country Club’s 17th hole.

There will be more deets in the days to come, but just wanted to warn you. Something is brewing. No, let’s be very honest. Something is scintillating!

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

Despite major efforts with bamboo shoots under Baylor Health Care System Foundation Robin Robinson‘s nails and threats that Queenie would roll their homes, Co-Chairs Lisa Longino and Daffan Nettle and Underwriter Chair Maggie Kipp‘s lips were lip sticked but sealed.

If you’re gonna be at the fundraiser to combat breast cancer, you’ll find out with the rest of the world. But insiders are swooning over the big deal this development is.

Hello, breast cancer, your days are so numbered. Let’s all wave  bye-bye with a smile and a breath of relief.

Round Robin March 26: Celebrating Women Announcement Coffee, Life Lessons, Contact Tea And Heroes And Handbags Live Auction

Wednesday, March 26, was a black hole of activities swirling. From morning coffees to SMU basketball, it seemed like every minute of the day required families making Solomon-like decisions on what to attend/support. So, what events were so demanding attention?

How about for starters:

Nobody can say Dallas is a hayseed town! Here are some flash points of the day that started off with the butterflies that serve as the symbol for both Celebrating Women and The Elisa Project:

2014 Celebrating Women

As mentioned before, Brenda Cockrell along with her caged perky, chirpy finches hosted the 2014 Celebrating Women Luncheon Kick-Off. What was revealed was that the Baylor Health Care System Foundation fundraiser for breast cancer would return to the Hilton Anatole on Friday, October 24. Luncheon Chairs Lisa Longino and Daffan Nettle and Underwriting Chair Maggie Kipp were joined by a slew of past chairs including Celebrating Women First Lady Lindalyn Adams.

Celebrating Women leadership past and present

Celebrating Women leadership past and present

Ethel Randall

Ethel Randall

Seated near Lindalyn was Ethel Randall, who manages the remarkable Baylor mobile mammogram operation that weekly helps 100 people to learn about the health of their breasts.

The standing joke of the gathering was that Rob Lowe would not be returning this year. However, all were impressed with the final reveal of the 2014 speaker — ABC’s “Good Morning America”’s Amy Robach. And that was before she had been promoted to replace Josh Elliott!

Okay, let’s be honest. Amy may not initially raise eyebrows like the mention of Rob Lowe. But pause and recall that the 40-year-old journalist made headlines with her first-ever, on-air mammogram that revealed the she indeed had breast cancer last year.

Dr. Alan Miller

Dr. Alan Miller

But as Dr. Alan Miller, who is chief of oncology at Baylor, reported, Baylor advancements, from the mobile mammogram to the navigator program, are part of the remarkable survival rate of women . . and men … with breast cancer.

Sure, Amy may not be Rob Lowe, but she has firsthand knowledge of being an unsuspecting breast cancer patient and survivor.

As the guests headed out the door, they received delicious butterfly cookies created by Kim Crigger Warren.

Life Lesson’s Luncheon

Robin Bagwell, Kim Bannister and Jan Osborn

Robin Bagwell, Kim Bannister and Jan Osborn

Over at the Anatole, the butterflies were very much present as The Elisa Project’s mascot for the 9th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon in the Khmer Pavilion, chaired by Kim Bannister and Sawyer Bannister. As luncheon honorees Robin Bagwell and Jan Osborn schlepped signage to the Jade Pavilion in the Atrium’s lobby, a coterie of Hockadaisies gathered to meet keynote speaker, seven-time Olympic medal winning swimmer Amanda Beard.

Amanda Beard

Amanda Beard

The duo was thinking about life after the lunch. Jan had wanted to go with Robin to the SMU game or the Heroes and Handbags live auction, but she was committed to chair the Contact cocktail party at the Bush Center.

On the other hand, Robin was headed to the SMU basketball game, while husband Norm was going to host one of the tables at the VNA’s Legends and Leaders dinner at the Khmer.

As Amanda posed for photos with the schoolgirls and adult guests like Leslie and Rick McCall, Elisa Project Executive Director Kim Martinez was reporting that 540 guests were expected for the fundraiser. It was easy to spot Amanda in her cornflower blue sundress, equally blue eyes, killer looks and tattoos on her calf.

Despite having attended a patron cocktail party the night before at Matthew Trent and making the rounds of local TV programs just a couple of hours before, Amanda looked bright-eyed. Perhaps it was due to her relatively new mommy duties and/or those twice-a-day swims.

Zoe Besser

Zoe Besser

It was hard to imagine this top athletic beauty would have ever had a problem with body image or self-esteem, but she had. And she had overcome the issues and encouraged the guests: “Don’t allow what others think and say define you.

But before Amanda spoke at the luncheon, an overpowering reading of entries by Zoe Besser and others from Elisa McCall captured the importance of self-esteem for young people. It was haunting to hear the words of a little girl, whose death had inspired her parents to help others suffering from an eating disorder, struggling with her frustration, confusion, anxiety and depression. Her emotional turmoil life hit home, with many in the audience having a greater understanding for the need for The Elisa Project. Even those who never knew Elisa now knew, understood and appreciated her struggle.

Contact Tea

Just as the crowd was being let out from The Elisa Project luncheon, a Kappa Kappa Gamma tea was underway at Jan Hegi’s home-sweet-home in Highland Park.

 Jan Hegi, Benaye Rogers, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Leigh Anne Haugh

Jan Hegi, Benaye Rogers, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Leigh Anne Haugh

The reason was Contact keynote speaker/honoree/Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, who just so happened to be a Kappa and was in town as the keynote speaker for the next day’s Spirit of Contact luncheon at the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion.

Before arriving at Jan’s, true-blue Kappa Kaitlin had visited the sorority house on the SMU campus.

As Jan and her “little sister” Marla Boone chatted in the entry hall, blonde Kaitlin took a seat on the couch in the living room. Her high heels were starting to get the best of her. Seems, like Amanda Beard, Kaitlin had been an early bird making the rounds of the local TV news shows. Learning that Amanda had also been staying at the Anatole, Kaitlin perked up. But then she learned that Amanda was already headed to the airport.

Editor’s note: Keynote and guest speakers may seem like they live an exciting life. A new city being feted, interviewed and photographed. Actually, it’s a demanding lifestyle — living out of a suitcase, being asked the same old questions, being shuttled around, trying to juggle their home life from long distance, being at the mercy of airline schedules, etc.

But back to Kaitlin. Despite having living through one of the nation’s most horrific mass murders, the 30-year-old teacher made no bones about her commitment to not let the tragedy define her or her students.

When asked if she had returned to the 3’ by 4’ bathroom where she and 15 of her students sought refuge from the murderer wandering the Sandy Hook halls, she looked a bit surprised. There was no way she would have ever returned to that room that had been demolished along with the school.

In 2012 Kaitlin admitted there were so many “angels” like her deceased grandmother who had been watching over her and her 15 first-graders, who were literally crammed in a room smaller than a coffee table. She recalled one student, who had been on vacation that day. When his parents asked her what she would have done if he had been at class, Kaitlin didn’t hesitate — “I would have put him on my shoulders.”

Heroes and Handbags Live Auction

Along with popularity comes challenges. In the case of the Knox-Henderson area east of Central Expressway, it’s parking. The guests of the Heroes and Handbags Live Auction found that out. Valet parking had been promised for the event at The Dram. But as guests trudged along Henderson, nary a parker nor sparking space was in sight.

However, nothing can prevent this crowd from getting to a Heroes for Children (H4C). Determined guests finally pulled into the lineup for Tei-Tei/The Porch parking lot that was as crowded as a Springsteen concert at the Final Four. Drivers were given understanding smiles by the parkers, who told them that they were indeed in the right lot. Once out of their vehicles, guests were directed down a walkway to the Dram.

One guest was so frustrated that he drove his SUV into the lot via the exit. To make amends with the attendants, he paid them $40 to keep his car nearby, saying, “We’re not going to be here that long.”

But once inside the dark bar with the cozy banquets and bar with a mirrored wall with glass shelves boasting loads of grown-up beverages, guests felt right at home.

Angela Choquette and Andrea Weber

Angela Choquette and Andrea Weber

H&H Chair Andrea Weber was celebrating a mommy’s night out. This was her first outing since giving birth to her daughter, Nicolette on March 5.

Darren Woodson

Darren Woodson

Andrea admitted that she indeed had had her hands full with the baby and the H&H fundraiser. But despite it all, the blonde new mom delivered more than the baby. She also arranged for adorable former Dallas Cowboy Darren Woodson to be the honorary chair. Well, she did get some help from husband John, who offices with Darren.

Taking the mic from Andrea and prodded by H4C Co-Founder Larissa Linton, Darren managed to articulately get the party-hearty crowd to face the reality of the program that helps the children battling cancer.

It was the perfect message to get the live auction hitting $37,000 for H4C.

Kristy Hensel and Larissa Linton

Kristy Hensel and Larissa Linton

Speaking of Larissa, she said that it appears that 200 handbags from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, YSL, Jimmy Choo, Susie Straubmueller, Chanel, Valentino and Rag & Bone will be up for auction at the H&H brunch on Friday, April 25, at the Omni.

Elaine Turner handbag*

Elaine Turner handbag*

Once again Elaine Turner has created a limited edition bag for the event.

In addition to having Tina “Bag Snob” Craig as the honorary chair, the H&H is being sponsored by Sewell, United Healthcare, Traxxas and TXU Energy.

If you love handbags and you just know you do, you’d better get on the stick and get your tickets. Insiders indicated “some tickets/tables are still left,” but they’re going, going, nearly gone.

* Photo provided 
by Heroes For 

Strong Men And “Lizzie” Stole The Show And Hearts At Celebrating Women

The Celebrating Women Luncheon with its butterfly mascots may seem to conjure up images of fragility and fluttering around. That couldn’t be farther from what it’s all about. If anything, it represents strength, courage and especially this year . . . passion.

Why passion? More about that later.

The two-day fundraising program for Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s (BHCSF) breast cancer research started with a patron party at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s estate, thanks to the planning by Chair Debbie Oates and Underwriting Co-Chairs Christie Carter and Susan McSherry. This wasn’t Debbie’s first chairing of the Celebrating Women luncheon. Nope! She had chaired in 2006, then Crystal Charity Ball in 2009 and did a mother-of-the-bride masterminding for her daughter’s wedding in 2012.  Just this past year she orchestrated the move of the CCB’s move into their new digs, and just the day before the luncheon she had received the Kappa Kappa Gamma Platinum Key award. Whew!

Robin Robinson, Barry and Lana Andrews, Lisa and Kenny Troutt and Joel Allison

Robin Robinson, Barry and Lana Andrews, Lisa and Kenny Troutt and Joel Allison

In addition to arranging the patron party, she had also gotten Lana and Barry Andrews as honorary chairs. The Andrews family is one of the area’s biggest supporters of cancer research, so it was natural for them to take on this responsibility. As Lana put it, “Giving back is what we do.”

Tiffany Divis, Anne Reeder and Emilynn Wilson

Tiffany Divis, Anne Reeder and Emilynn Wilson

While others checked out the indoor basketball court and the grounds, BHCSF’s queen bee Lindalyn Adams joined Dee Collins Torbert on the couch in the living room. They had a front-row couch for the brief presentation by Baylor Health Care System/Scott + White Healthcare President/CEO Joel Allison and BHCSF President Robin Robinson thanking all and preparing them for the next day’s lunch. As luncheon keynote speaker/ESPN analyst Chris Spielman leaned against the wall, he blended in with the rest of the guests (Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Lydia Novakov, Tiffany Divis, Pam and Vin Perella, Anne Reeder, Richard Eiseman and Martha and David Tiller).

Virginia Chandler Dykes

Virginia Chandler Dykes

Carol Seay and Dr. Alan Miller

Carol Seay and Dr. Alan Miller

Barbara Stuart, Di Johnston and Melissa Macatee

Barbara Stuart, Di Johnston and Melissa Macatee

Tincy Miller

Tincy Miller

Mary Suhm

Mary Suhm

Lynn McBee and Piper Wyatt

Lynn McBee and Piper Wyatt

Wednesday’s activities started with a reception in the Wedgwood Room. Speaker Chris Spielman posed for photos with guests against the sponsor backdrop at one end of the room, while the room filled with guests like Virginia Chandler Dykes, Ann Stuart, Mary Suhm, Carol Seay, Pam Perella, Nancy Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Pam Busbee, Caren Kline, Lynn McBee, Piper Wyatt, Tincy Miller, Margaret Keliher, Di Johnston, Barbara Stuart and daughter Melissa Macatee, DeeDee Lee, Dr. Alan Miller and Kristina Whitcomb.

Robin Robinson and Isabell Novakov

Robin Robinson and Isabell Novakov

Over to the side Robin Robinson and PlainsCapital’s Isabell Novakov reviewed their notes. Minutes later Robin stepped up to the mic and welcomed the patrons and introduced Chris, who had briefly stepped out of the room and returned just at the right moment.  He laughed that he had been taking care of business and everything was fine.

Chris Spielman

Chris Spielman

Then Isabell told how PlainsCapital was pleased to once again host the reception.

Susan McSherry, Connie Yates, Debbie Oates and Christie Carter

Susan McSherry, Connie Yates, Debbie Oates and Christie Carter

Luncheon presenting sponsor Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates followed Isabell telling personal stories of Baylor’s involvement with breast cancer patients. She closed by saying, “Don’t ever give up hope.”

Elizabeth Selkirk

Elizabeth Selkirk

While the adults were showing their appreciation, an adorable blonde in a pinker-than-pink party dress with white stockings was starting to show signs of scene stealing. The 4-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzie” Selkirk (according to grandma Lauren “Lala” Selkirk, Lizzie would be turning 5 on October 29) was accompanied by her brother Ben and dad Bruce Selkirk. Typical of an ingénue, she was playing the range from shy to flirt. But that was just a warm-up for the luncheon.

Christie Carter, Susan McSherry and Debbie Oates

Christie Carter, Susan McSherry and Debbie Oates

At 11:40 a.m. the doors opened and the crowds filled the ballroom to capacity. After Debbie, Christie and Susan welcomed guests, the Rt. Rev. Anthony Burton gave the invocation and lunch (roasted tomato and chipotle bisque en croute; sliced beef tenderloin with rosemary aioli accompanied by assorted fall greens, roasted fingerling potatoes, hearts of palm, baby carrots, pear tomato and shaved parmesan with creamy balsamic vinaigrette and spicy cheese straw; and chocolate molten cake with caramel sauce) was served.

Following lunch, Joel revealed that the recent partnership with Scott & White Healthcare was enabling Baylor to expand its ability to care for patients.

Following the Circle of Care Award presentation to The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-CH. 8, the third Circle of Care Award was bestowed to the Selkirk family. Why the Selkirk family? We’ll get to that a little later.

Before introducing Chris, Robin Robinson told how the mobile mammography unit just outside had been made possible “thanks to Darlene and Baron Cass and individuals like you.”

He admitted that Baylor is impatient about solving the deadly problem of cancer, and “through the Celebrating Women program, $600,000 has been awarded for Baylor’s genetics program in order to increase the number of counselors on our staff.”

Robin then explained that everyone in the room is a breast cancer co-survivor. By supporting a breast cancer survivor in some form, they have co-survived the battle of breast cancer. Robin revealed, “I am a breast cancer co-survivor. My mother survived 25 years after her breast cancer diagnosis.”

Then Chris addressed the ballroom, telling of his family’s battle against cancer. In many ways, despite his fame on the professional football field, Chris had been a typical guy. He had his plans all laid out for himself and his family including wife Stefanie and their four kids (Madison, Noah, Macy and Audrey). Through childhood and adulthood, he had been a top athlete through hard work. In 1997 injuries took him off the field, but he worked hard to recover. It was in 1998 that Stefanie learned that she had breast cancer and underwent treatment. A year later Chris’ attempt to return to football was squashed by another injury. However, the end of his on-field career was replaced by his becoming a sports broadcaster. All this time, he, Stefanie and the kids were in the battle against her breast cancer. Four times it returned, and four times the Spielmans won the battle. Stefanie wasn’t the least bit shy about her cancer and wanted others to be aware of the disease. She and Chris made it their mission to spread the word and to fundraise for breast cancer research. They were passionate about this mission.

Chris Spielman

Chris Spielman

But, despite their efforts and medical treatments, the cancer returned a fifth time. It was fatal. Stefanie died on November 19, 2009. Now, the family faced the future without her. But burly Chris was not going to stop the battle. Sure, he was now a single parent with one son and three daughters to raise. And, yes, his broadcasting duties required him to be separated from the kids at times. Still, he was going to carry on the mission that he and Stefanie had nurtured like a fifth child.

Bruce Selkirk

Bruce Selkirk

But Chris wasn’t the only one at the luncheon who had become a widower, a single dad and warrior in the battle against breast cancer. Bruce Selkirk was another such man. It was in January 2011 that his wife Amy had retired from her nurse practitioner work to raise Lizzie and Ben, then 2 and 7, respectively.  “That month, only weeks after a clean mammogram report, Amy found a lump in her breast. Her discovery led to the diagnosis of a rapidly growing, aggressive breast cancer defined as ‘triple-negative breast cancer,’ or TNBC.”

Instead of a year focusing on the trials, tribulations and joys of raising their children, Amy and Bruce were faced with a battle for her survival.  Despite an aggressive treatment program, Amy died January 2012.

Like the Spielmans, Bruce and the children were left without a wife and mother. But Bruce was not going to let the battle end there — “It’s not in my nature to give up, and I’m blessed with the opportunity to do something. We couldn’t save Amy, but maybe we can save someone else.” Since Amy’s death, he has had two priorities — parenting and the “raising of money to fund 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.” Bruce and the Baylor Health Care Foundation have raised $1M for the Amy T. Selkirk Fund.

In other words, Bruce replaced his anger and sorrow with a passion to beat cancer.

But despite the story of their loss, the Selkirks acceptance of the award was not one of tears. Leave it to Lizzie, who played the coy cutie with a pink rose on stage causing Robin to admit, “I’m in love with that little Lizzie.”

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry

Let’s hope that thanks to warriors like Chris and Bruce, Lizzie and her generation will not be victimized by breast cancer. This year’s Celebrating Women Luncheon provided $2M to the war chest.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Celebrating Women Luncheon

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry

Robin Robinson, Debbie Oates, Elizabeth Selkirk, Bruce Selkirk, Ben Selkirk, Christie Carter and Susan McSherry

The annual Celebrating Women Luncheon was once again a major success with a patron party at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s estate on October 22 and the big event on October 23 at the Anatole with ESPN analyst Chris Spielman. Despite hunky Chris, the true scene stealer was a blonde in a sugar-and-spice pink frock.

You’ll see them all on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Debbie Oates Is Busiest Woman In Dallas Fundraising For The Next Three Days

Debbie Oates (File photo)

Debbie Oates (File photo)

Do not get in Debbie Oates’ way this week.

Not only is she the Platinum Key Honoree for the Kappas two-day Tablescapes extravaganza Monday night and Tuesday lunch, she’s chairing Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women on Wednesday and a patron party Tuesday night.

On Thursday, let’s give her permission to take the day off.

Former NFL All-pro Chris Spielman To Headline Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women

The Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon has featured all types of people (Rob Lowe, Diahann Carroll, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Lynn Redgrave, Ann Curry, Kelly Corrigan, etc.) who have been impacted by breast cancer.

Thanks to 150 committee members the luncheon has more than 1,300 guests in attendance helping to fund breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

Debbie Oates

Debbie Oates (File photo)

2013 Luncheon Chair Debbie Oates has revealed that the featured speaker for the Wednesday, October 23, event at the Hilton Anatole will be Chris Spielman.


No, he hasn’t made any movies, nor has he been in a recent reality show. Instead, he lived through an all-too-real 12 years as his wife, Stefanie, lost her battle with the disease in 2009 at the age of 42.

Each time Stefanie lost her hair due to treatments, her former NFL All-pro linebacker and ESPN broadcaster husband shaved his head.

In addition to his fundraising activities and writing a book (“That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris & Stefanie Spielman Story”) about the Spielmans’ ordeal, Chris is raising their four children — Maddie, 19; Noah, 17; Macy, 12 and Audrey, 10.

In an interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Maddie described her 6-foot-tall dad as “an Upper Arlington housewife.” She added, “He’s been so great; he makes time for all of us. He tries so hard. Sometimes he’ll cook dinner — usually toast or eggs or grilled cheese, but that’s OK. He really has stepped up to help us.”

Speaking of families, the honorary chairs for the luncheon will b the Lana and Barry Andrews family. For sponsorship and ticket information, check here.

Rob Lowe’s Message At Celebrating Women Luncheon Proved Even More Powerful Than His Good Looks And Charm

One of the team putting on this year’s Celebrating Women smiled Thursday. Not only were they having the largest attendance ever (1,400+), they were predicted to break records in the money-raising arena for the 12-year-old fundraiser against breast cancer. She wondered aloud — “Is it because we’re having a male speaker? Or, is it because the speaker is Rob Lowe?” Really? The Lowe-mentum officially got underway Wednesday.


The usually sedate street in front of Claire and Dwight Emanuelson‘s mansion was cordoned off into a one-way street. Just 15 minutes into the cocktail reception for the Celebrating Women patrons, it seemed like all 175 guests were Johnny-on-the-spot. Valets had lined the street and the adjoining ones with all types of luxury vehicles. It was obvious that no one was going to be late for this one, except perhaps the guest of honor. While a handful of guests (mostly men) stood in the marvelous backyard, the majority (mostly female) stayed inside to greet the star/author/breast cancer activist.

While waiting for him, stories and sightings were revealed regarding Rob and his jewelry-designing wife, Sheryl. Earlier in the day she’d lunched with the Lowes’ Santa Barbara neighbors Annette Simmons and Bea Wallace at the downtown Neiman’s Zodiac Room, following a personal appearance downstairs with her collection. The Sheryl Lowe Designs was slated to be at the downtown store until 2013, but since they were in town. . . why not? One of the categories is called “Maria,” after Sheryl’s good buddy Maria Shriver.

And guess who dropped by to join the gals for lunch. Yup! Mr. Blue Eyes.

A touch of trivia: While Rob is quite adorable — blue eyes fringed with legions of brown eyelashes — he’s also totally gray follicle-wise. Has been since he was 24.  Ah, shoot, who cares? Cary Grant, Anderson Cooper, George Clooney and so many painfully gorgeous men have gotten better and better looking as they grayed.

Emilynn and Claude Wilson, Melissa Macatee and Barbara Stuart

Barbara Stuart and dotter Melissa Macatee, who chaired the luncheon when the late Rue McClanahan spoke, were chatting with Emilynn and Claude Wilson. Seems Melissa’s 17-year-old son loves “Parks & Recreation” in which Rob has appeared. . . Mary Anne Cree, who was one of the recipients of this year’s Circle of Care Award, sat near Dan Busbee, and said she just hoped she wasn’t in the way as the crowds grew and grew in the living room, where the microphone was stationed. It was obvious from the placement of the mic that this was the most likely place to guarantee a look at Rob.

Jan Miller and Sheryl Lowe

Finally at 6:44, the guest of honor arrived in the doorway with his wife Sheryl and friend Jan Miller. At least it looked like he walked in. From the sudden explosion of people filling the entry hall, it was hard to see exactly what was going on. But then the smile and blue eyes appeared surrounded by a gaggle of very happy ladies.

Rob Lowe and Claire Emanuelson

As he slowly . . . very slowly made his way down a couple of steps to the living room, he was introduced to Baylor Health Care System President/CEO Joel Allison and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson. Being the smart gentlemen they are, they immediately made sure that Rob met the right women — luncheon Co-chairs Pam Busbee and Pam Perella and Lindalyn Adams.

Pam Busbee, Rowland Robinson, Mary Anne Cree, Joel Allison and Pam Perella

As Joel pointed out, Lindalyn was the “visionary and soul and integrity of this luncheon. . . I said to her, ‘Let’s own October’ — and we have.”

But before the very short program had a chance to use the mic, Rob was led to the backyard by host Dwight through a gauntlet of guests, who just wanted a quick smartphone photo with him. Dwight wanted to show the Emanuelsons’ outdoor entertainment area to Rob. Looking around the pool, outdoor kitchen and game room, Rob was pretty well impressed with the surroundings.

Talking with some of the guys, Rob asked about the Cowboys chances. The feedback was unanimously not favorable.

Hillis Emanuelson, Rob Lowe and Michael Crow

Then out of nowhere came the Emanuelson son, Hillis. and his bud Michael Crow, with hockey sticks for a photo with Rob, who played a hockey player in “Youngblood.” On the way back to the main house, Rob told Dwight about his own sons. It seems that one of them was applying to Washington and Lee. Dwight looked startled. Did Rob know that Dwight not only graduated from W&L (he didn’t mention that he was a magna cum laude grad with a double major in economics and French), but he is also on the W&L board of trustees.

Then it was back to the house and the short program in which Joel told the group, “You know, (this luncheon) is getting like Six Flags. It just gets better and better each year.”

Then Robin admitted to the room overflowing with guests that he and Joel were pretty aware that the man of the hour was indeed Rob. All eyes didn’t turn to Rob. They were already focused on him. Then Robin added that Rob was here with his lovely wife, who had disappeared in the mob. Looking into the mass, Rob immediately found her and pointed her out.

Annette Simmons

Since the next day was full of activities, the Baylor folks kept the remarks short  and the program ended. Arriving just as the program ended were Annette and Harold Simmons, who took the Lowes to dinner at Cafe Pacific. The rest of the herd descended upon the NM buffet in the dining room.


Never has a VIP reception had so many guests show up so early. The infatuation with Rob Lowe was now in its second day and it was showing no signs of dimming. Even the most sophisticated socialite made no excuses for wanting to meet him. His book signing at Jan Miller’s and Jeff Rich’s had confirmed Rob’s youthful good looks and genial personality were cosmic.

Quequeing up for a photo opportunity

At one end of the Wedgwood Room was a small stage for Joel, Robin and representatives from Plains Capital and Tom Thumb to speak. At the opposite end of the room was a backdrop for photos to be taken with Rob. It was four across and longer than the lineup for Santa at NorthPark.

Just as the speakers started to talk, Rob entered via the service entrance in the back of the room. Without a word said, eyes went from the stage to the back of the room, where he tried to blend in. No way. They ushered him to the foot of the stage.

As soon as the speaker finished, the photo session started. One veteran mumbled, “There’s no way they’re going to finish taking pictures of all these people. Maybe they should just do a group photo.” Ain’t no lens big enough.

But the Baylor team knows how to run a tidy ship, and the photo session ended with a couple of minutes to spare.

Quickly the group joined the rest of the 1,400 in the Chantilly Ballroom as the doors opened at 12:32 p.m. Eithin 11 minutes, the guests were in their chairs and the Pams were at the podium. Pam Busbee had been worried about the two teleprompters. Last year they had stopped, causing a bit of frustration for the speakers. This time Pam had a backup plan in hand. . .  literally.  She had vowed to write notes down on her hand. Smart gal.

Caren Prothro

After introducing Honorary Chair Caren Prothro, the Pams had Pat Smith, who lost her mother when Pat was 22, give the invocation. Of course, the beautiful wife of Emmitt Smith was not going to let this gathering of 1,400 potential voters go without a pitch for her husband in the “Dancing With The Stars” competition. Then she proceeded with the invocation.

Rowland “Robin” Robinson and Pat Smith

The Pams weren’t about to let guests just start chowing down on parsnip-apple soup en croute, panko crusted breast of chicken served with assorted fall greens, candied pecan goat cheese wafer and spicy cheese straw with sherry Dijon vinaigrette and a chocolate hazelnut cake with praline chocolate crunch. Nope, they asked guests to look at their programs, or rather the back of the program. The ones with a butterfly appliqué were the lucky ones who would receive a “Go Girl” ring designed by Dian Malouf.

While everyone ate and chatted, Rob opted just to chat. Smart fella. When your face is going to be on three mega screens, you don’t want to worry about the possibility of a stray piece of lettuce or something lodging among your ivories.

After lunch Joel announced that Baylor had been selected as not only the location of the newest Hope Lodge but also as the regional headquarters for the American Cancer Society. This remarkable announcement was greeted with applause. Baylor has indeed been busy this past month with the official naming of the Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Center across from the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

Mary Anne Cree, David Bratton and Heather Kreager

Speaking of the Sammons, Robin presented the Circle of Care Awards to Mary Anne and the Men and Women of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., represented by David Bratton and Heather Kreager.  For newbies, breast cancer survivor Mary Anne is the daughter of the late Charles Sammons, who was a truly remarkable man. Ironically, Mary Anne learned that she had cancer in the diagnosis suite that she and her husband dedicated in the name of his late wife, who died of breast cancer.

Then Robin shifted gears with a video on 25-year-old Crystal Griffith, who is going through treatments for breast cancer. Following a video on a very articulate Crystal, Robin seemed to tear up as she updated the audience that she had spoken with her the day before and she was facing still more treatments. Mary Ann claimed that her father would have teased her that just because you provided the funding for such an effort, you didn’t have to try it out.

Rob Lowe

Once again, Robin changed gears again and introduced Rob. During his 18-minute talk, he told how he had lost his great-grandmother, his grandmother and even his mother to breast cancer. His grandmother Peg Hepler, had been “a big influence in my life” He told how they would read Peter Rabbit and she would serve him a drop of Sanka in his milk, so it looked like they were having coffee together. “That dates me. I’m 100 years old. (Laughter) . . . Today I’m still a fan of Peter Rabbit but a bigger fan of caffeine. Grandma, Starbucks thanks you.” And yet when she was diagnosed with cancer in the 70’s, the whole family was scared because in those days it was “considered a death sentence.” Her example of how she handled the grueling treatments (a radical double mastectomy and countless rounds of chemo), inspired him to take on the battle of creating awareness of the disease.  “She and her doctors were early warriors in the cause that brings us together today,” he said.

In honor of Peggy, Rob became the first male spokesperson for the National Breast Cancer Awareness Day in 2001. In one single day $7.5M was raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Rob Lowe

But he was frustrated in trying to get the word out about the importance of getting mammograms. He thought the message was “a no brainer.” He wondered if the message was really needed anymore. After all it was so obvious.

And, yet despite his efforts, he was shocked to learn “in 2006 my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She’d never had a mammogram.. . . How did this happen? It was devastating.”

[Editor’s note: Barbara was actually diagnosed in early 2003.]

When she died just eight months later just after Thanksgiving in 2003, it broke the hearts of her entire family. So much so that Rob’s eight-year-old son, John Owen, cried so much he threw a rib out.

Rob summed it up by saying, “Today we know that a cancer diagnosis is not the end. It is the beginning of a journey that has the potential to be transformative, enlightened and heroic.”

By transformative, he said that so often when he meets cancer survivors, they admit that they are different people and that they see life from a different perspective.

Despite his initial anger at his mother’s not being diagnosed earlier, he learned that the quality of time was more important that the quantity of time.

He finished by embracing the guests saying, “All of us here today are family. We are joined by a common experience, our shared humanity and the daily we face in the war on cancer. . . . We celebrate our loved ones who have given us so much and sometimes leave us with so much. We celebrate the doctors, the nurses, the health care providers of all stripes, as well as the unsung heroes that keep our big hospitals running, for those who clean and cook. We honor those who tirelessly work and look for funds like all of you here today to keep the lights on and to keep the labs running. . . . There’s so much to be done for so many. And for some time is truly of the essence. But we are a nation that has always been capable of leading the way of great accomplishments. The tools for tremendous achievement are in our DNA. The powerful strands of intertwined sacrifice, commitment, hope and love all shared friend to friend are handed down family to family. . . Together we can make miracles.”

Rob Lowe

No, his talk was not long, but it was personal, thoughtful, articulate and to the point — much to the relief of veteran luncheoners, who too often feel like they’re being lectured.

Everyone left at once

By 1:21 the valets were being hit by hundreds and hundreds of guests trying to depart. The problem with such a luncheon is that patrons usually come solo, unlike evening events where each car has two people.  If only it had been announced that anyone who stayed might have a chance to talk with Rob, it would have slowed things down immensely. . . but then Rob would have never been able to return to Cafe Pacific for lunch.

Get The Low(e)-down On Thursday’s Celebrating Women Luncheon

If you haven’t gotten your tickets to Thursday’s Celebrating Women 2012 at the Hilton Anatole with speaker/actor/author Rob Lowe, you’d better hurry. There are only a few seats.

Oh, you don’t want to hurry? Not to worry. You can still see him and for free on Tuesday! Yup. Only it won’t be in the flesh. Sorry.

He’ll be on “Good Morning America” Tuesday morning.

That’s nice, but seeing him in person and hearing his incredible story about how breast cancer has devastated generations of his family is worth hurrying for.

And if you do hurry and make a nice contribution upping you to patron level, you might just be part of the patron party with Rob and his wife Sheryl.

Prediction: Phone cameras will be in overload Thursday at the Anatole.

“2012 Celebrating Women Luncheon” With Actor/Advocate Rob Lowe Revealed With Smiles And Ah’s

Pam Perella, Claire Emanuelson and Pam Busbee

The Pams (Pam Busbee and Pam Perella) have had delicious smiles recently. Nudged and shoved for the reason, they refused to talk. All they would say was, “Wait until Wednesday.” Okay, so the waiting game ended Wednesday at the Perella palazzo.

Joel Allison

With such impressive guests as Baylor Health Care System’s President/CEO Joel Allison, oncologist Dr. Alan Miller, and Baylor Foundation rainmaker Rowland “Robin” Robinson happily in the minority with Cheshire Cat smiles, the gals who have helped the annual “Celebrating Women” luncheon raise money to battle cancer filled the entry, dining room, kitchen and den. Over the past 12 years, Celebrating Women has raised more than $18 million for education, technology and health care to battle breast cancer.

Rowland Robinson

Near the coffee urns in the kitchen Barbara Stuart and Vinnie Reuben discussed various diets. Vinnie, who seemed half of herself, attributed it to eating healthier, while Barbara revealed that daughter Melissa had found incredible success on Weight Watchers and looked younger than her own daughter.

Pam B. admitted that this fall was proving to be more of a challenge that she had originally planned. In addition to being president of the Callier Foundation, she’s chairing the June 5 Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance to Soar” luncheon on Tuesday, June 5 at Brook Hollow; her “To-Do-List” is pretty done in. BTW, the speaker at the Jonathan’s Place fundraiser is going to be Wes Moore. No, not the one who went to prison for felony murder. The one who grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader. His book “The Other Wes Moore” has been a New York Times bestseller.

Lindalyn Adams

But back to the reasons for the smiles. With Baylor Foundation’s First Lady of Fun(d)raising Lindalyn Adams in the crowd along with Fredye Factor, Sarah Losinger, Pat McEvoy, Claire Emanuelson, Di Ann Johnston, Christie Carter and Leigh Anne

Leigh Anne Haugh

Haugh, plans were announced for the 2012 Celebrating Women luncheon. This year’s million-dollar fundraiser will take place on Thursday, October 11th at the Hilton Anatole. To the side was an easel with a portrait under a dropcloth. Everyone knew that the soon-to-be-announced 2012 speaker’s photo was under it, but they were too well mannered to peek. Oh, please! This is a polite group of gals. Finally, the cloth was pulled off, as the name Rob Lowe was announced.

Yes, as you may know when he was at Jan Miller‘s and Jeff Rich‘s last year for a book signing, women left the Miller-Rich castle swooning their way home. The common comment being, “He’s the most gorgeous man in the world.”

But don’t think this luncheon is going to be a drool-a-thon. No! Rob has been an advocate in the raising awareness and funds for cancer research for years. He has real gut-wrenching involvement when it comes to breast cancer. His great-grandmother and grandmother suffered from the disease that eventually killed his mother in 2003. In other words, he has personal experience when it comes to the pain endured by families.

As quickly as the announcement and ooh’s and ah’s resounded through the house, Dr. Miller told his entourage to get in the car. They had to get back to the forefront in the war against cancer.

JUST IN: “Lowe” And Behold, Celebrating Women’s Speaker Revealed

In between events, but wanted you to know that it was just revealed to the delight of a mansion full of gals that the speaker for this fall’s “Celebrating Women” luncheon will be Rob Lowe, who in addition to being gorgeous, talented and articulate has had personal knowledge about the devastation of breast cancer in a family.

Pam Busbee and Pam Perella

More deets to follow about the Pam’s chairing the event, Baylor, tickets, etc. April is showering with activities to raise money for nonprofits. What a great place!


Wedding Gifts, Butterflies, Half-Million-Dollar Pledges and Diahann Carroll Celebrated “Celebrating Women”

Santa came two months early for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, but it was because of a lot of hard work on behalf “Celebrating Women.” Even before the guest checked in for

Sarah Losinger

the Friday luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, Co-chairs Fredye Factor and Sarah Losinger were thrilled. Thanks to their efforts, $3M had been raised for research, education and care for women battling breast cancer. Ah, but the sweet place for Fredye especially was the $600,000 that going to help women who could not afford treatments for breast cancer. But more about that later.

Another person looking like his wish-list was in high achievement mode was Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson. At the meet-and-greet session in the Anatole’s Wedgwood Room, he was given a pledge of $500,000 for the program.

Ballroom full of butterflies

When the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened, guests discovered a room full of butterflies. No, not really breathing, itty-bitty insects, but humongous butterfly images floating across the walls and fluttering their wings on the mammoth screens behind the stage. Why, even the table centerpieces were highlighted with butterflies.

St. Philip's School and Community Center Choir

To get the room full of guests’ attention, the St. Philip’s School and Community Center Choir sang “Give Thanks”.  After they finished and started to exit, Co-chairs Fredye and Sarah took their places on stage to greet the audience.

It was at this time that Fredye revealed a couple of nuggets with the guests. First was the reason why breast cancer has been a major cause in her life. Her grandmother died at the age of 32 from the disease, preventing Fredye from ever knowing her.

Her next revelation involved E.T. Bradley. According to Fredye,

“When his (E.T.) fiancé Anna Taylor feared she had breast cancer, they traveled to Baylor so she could undergo testing. While E.T. was sitting in the waiting room of the Darla G. Cass Women’s Imaging Center, E.T. witnessed discussions between another patient and the Baylor staff. The patient clearly did not have the means to pay her bill. Fortunately Anna was given a clean bill of health.

“But E.T. could not stop thinking about this other patient. He was so thankful that Anna was cancer-free that he was inspired to share his gratitude with others who are battling breast cancer. He asked if Baylor had a way to help people who couldn’t afford their care. E.T. wanted to insure that when other families were sitting in the waiting room awaiting diagnosis for their loved ones, they were able to focus on their family, on treatment and on healing — not on the ability to afford adequate care. In the spirit of thankfulness, E.T. could think of no better wedding gift present for Anna than the gift that offers the hope to other women and families.

E.T. Bradley, Fredye Factor and Anna Taylor

“Anna, as your wedding gift, E.T. has made a $100,000 donation in your honor to the Celebrating Women Gift of Life Fund so that all women can have access to the care they need and deserve.”

Quite frankly, the lunch could have ended there and then without the food being served. Everyone was so touched. . . especially the surprised bride-to-be.

But there was still more. There was the recognition of Honorary Chairs The Joan and Andy Horner Family and the presentation of the 2011 Circle of Care Award to the Ernestine and Bradley Waynes‘ family.

Diahann Carroll

And, of course, there was featured speaker Diahann Carroll, who pulled out a pair of glasses saying, “I hope you don’t mind if I put these (glasses) on. I don’t need these. It’s a prop really. But I thought they might add a little charm. I saw them in the pharmacy . . .  for $700. Couldn’t resist them.

“First of all I need to tell you that this is going to be primarily about me. I know more about me than most people know about me. . . . The first thing you need to know about me is that I was raised not to make my private life public.”

She spoke of her early childhood life from Harlem and how on a train trip to her aunt in North Carolina, she had her first major encounter with segregation. When the pair got to Washington, they were told they had to move to another car “because these cars were now being taken over by the white passengers. I said to my mother, ‘What did I do? I wasn’t that noisy. What happened?’ She said, ‘Nothing. You did nothing. You’ll learn to understand what that’s all about.’ I did.”

Diahann Carroll

Upon arriving at her aunt’s, she went to sleep only to discover that her mother had left. “I was utterly bewildered and no one would answer my questions — Where is my mother? Why did she leave me her? When is she coming back? All I was told was she would be back soon. A year went by and finally she and my father came to collect me and no explanation was forthcoming. No one ever talked about it. You see, that is what we did in those days. We didn’t talk about things. Instead we kept up appearances.”

Diahann continued this keeping up appearances for four-and-a-half decades. . . until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1997. Her first reaction was to continue to stay silent and keep up appearances.

“But  I was soon to discover that with breast cancer, ‘appearances’ becomes a very, very  important word. . .  After all, in my profession that’s what it’s all about. . .  My job was to look perfect.”

Diahann Carroll

Up to that time, she was having a wonderful time as an actress on Broadway, television and in films performing with Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Joan Collins, Sidney Poitier and collecting tributes along the way. “I lived a very pampered and ridiculously healthy lifestyle.”

When the doctor told her that she did indeed have a cancerous lump, she was “not ready to make these words real for me” and postponed further discussion.

“My first concern was my mother. It was my responsibility because she was constantly being hospitalized and I had kept my promise to always be there for her.”

Upon learning of her daughter’s breast cancer, Diahann’s mother was equally fearful. “This was not the way she planned to live her life. Like all parents, she wanted to be the first one to go. . . . she was the kind of woman who had decided what she was going to wear when she passed away. She made me promise that she would go to her maker in a red cocktail suit from my Diahann Carroll collection.”

Three days later Diahann decided she “couldn’t keep this just to myself. . . I learned that there were 192,000 women who had also been diagnosed that year. Whether I liked it or not, I was part of a big group. I was not singled out as the star. We were all in this together on the same level.”

She decided to go public with her diagnosis. Connie Chung  and her crew filmed Diahann during her radiation treatment.

After her announcement about her breast cancer, a friend called to offer support and admit that she, too, had breast cancer but had decided not to reveal it.

Diahann Carroll

“Denial is such a personal thing. And it’s only in recent years that I’ve begun to connect with my own version of denial. I’ve come to realize denial in me takes the following form: ‘This isn’t real. This can’t be happening.’ I think I
learned this when I was five years old on that train with my mother.

“I’m here to say to you, I had to deal with that term ‘I have cancer.’ And for the first time in my life ‘This isn’t real. This can’t be happening’ doesn’t work anymore.”

In closing and reflecting on her continuing career, her children and grandchildren, she admitted that, “Unlike my mother, I have no compunction to make plans to decide what I shall be wearing when I meet my maker.”