JUST IN: 2017 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala Net A Cool $800K

Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is all smiles after getting word from her bean counters. It seems after adding up all the income from sponsorships, tickets, raffles, auctions and “stuff,” and then subtracting all the expenses, Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala Chair Pamela Moayedi‘s efforts raised $1M and cleared a cool $800K to help North Texas children battling cancer.

Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Jennifer Arthur and Dak Prescott*

The fashion show/dinner took place on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and local celebrities like Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett and Miss Texas Caroline Carothers on the runway with kids who have been battling cancer.

* Photo provided by Children's Cancer Fund

Sadie Keller Stole The Limelight And Hearts At The Children’s Cancer Fund Patron Party

Despite being divorced, Pamela Moayedi and Mehrdad Moayedi are still on good terms. No, make that very good terms. Need proof? On Thursday, March 23, Mehrdad let his gorgeous blonde ex use his fabulous home on Strait Lane with the spectacular view of the property’s lake for the Children’s Cancer Fund patrons party. The reason is that Pamela is chairing the Friday, April 21st Children’s Cancer Fund “Broadway Light and Runway Lights” on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole.

Grant Keller, Sadie Keller and Sarah Moayedi

Shawn and Sarah Keller

Since the previous owner was in the restaurant/food industry (think Phil Romano), the home’s kitchen was larger than some condos and was the center of the festivities with pizzas emerging from ovens and the island covered with so many edibles for the 60 or so guests including the Moayedi daughter, Sarah and Shawn Keller with pretty-in-pink daughter Sadie Keller and very-cool son Grant Keller, Tim Mullaney, Ludovit Zywczak, Anne Davidson and Cornelia and Ralph Heins.

Cornelius Heins

Anne Davidson

At one point organizers scurried around notifying guests that Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach and his wife Marianne Staubach had just arrived.

Pamela Moayedi, Jennifer Arthur, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Sadie Keller and Becky Lewis

Photos were taken of the Staubachs with Executive Board President Becky Lewis, CCF Executive Director Jennifer Arthur and adorable Sadie Keller. Old pro Roger immediately welcomed the fact that he was playing second fiddle to adorable Sadie. Even a Super Bowl win is nothing compared to beating cancer.

Sadie will be one of the kids on the runway wearing the Dillard’s fashions in the show produced by Rhonda Sargent Chambers. Tickets are starting at $300 and raffle tickets for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 can be gotten here for $100 each. BTW, the post-fashion show partying will be in the hands of DJ Lucy Wrubel.

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

Côtes du Coeur (File photo)

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

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

Art Ball 2016 (File photo)

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

Trammell S. Crow

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund (File photo)

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

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

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

Horse racing (File photo)

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

The Great Create (File photo)

It just ain’t fair!

JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys’ Wunderkind Dak Prescott And Coach Of The Year Jason Garrett To Walk The Children’s Cancer Fund’s Runway

Children’s Cancer Fund‘s Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is whooping it up. She just revealed that Honorary Co-Chairs/former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach will be joined at the Friday, April 21st fundraiser — Broadway Nights and Runway Lights — by the new Cowboys starting quarterback/cutie pie Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott*

Jason Garrett*

Also, escorting Children’s Medical Center pediatric oncology patients on the runway will be Cowboys coach/Coach of the Year Jason Garrett, plus a heck of a lot of other well-known and photographed folks.

Tickets are available for the dinner, applauding and dancing at the Hilton Anatole here!

* Photos provided by Children's Cancer Fund

Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening In Oz” Broke All Previous Records With Cancer-Fighting Kids And Celebrity Escorts

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Unlike years past, this year’s Children’s Cancer Fund annual fundraiser for Children’s Health took on a different spin on Friday, April 22. Instead of a luncheon, Event Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley moved it to nighttime with “An Evening In Oz” as the theme. And the only thing missing was the horse of a different color! And the decision to move it worked, because the evening’s net … oops, can’t reveal it because the board is keeping that number under wraps. Still word has it that it was a record breaker.

But from the beginning of the night, it was obvious that more than Dorothy’s red slippers had been clicking for wishes to come true. As the girl from Kansas and her pals welcomed more than 900 guests at the Anatole, the munchkin artists and models were hunkered down in the Wedgwood Room with makeup being applied, hair curled and partying. In the meantime, the older high-paying kids were in the Peacock Room for the VIP meet-and-greet with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Over to the side, Marianne Staubach reported that they had just returned from Disneyland with daughter Amy Mentgen and her kids. She admitted that after making the rounds of the park with the grand-kids, the adults were worn out.

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

In another part of the room Bela Pjetrovic and mustachioed Chase Cooley were being congratulated on their recent engagement. Has a date been set? Nothing definite yet, but April 2017 is looking good. And speaking of mustaches, Cooley dad Clay recalled that when he and wife Lisa met, he also had a mustache and long hair.

Another dad in the crowd was Ben Lange, sans son/T-shirt entrepreneur Luke Lange, who was at Benihana for a birthday. The mention of Benihana set off a memory for Clay, who remembered how in the early days, Chase’s birthdays were celebrated there.

All too soon the VIPs adjourned to join the hundreds of others checking out the silent auction in the Chantilly Ballroom reception area just as the ballroom doors were opened.

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Inside the ballroom, it appeared as if the Emerald City of Oz had indeed taken up residence, with a stage for the Emerald City band at one end and the presentation stage with runway at the other. All around were tables with folks like presenting sponsor Anne Davidson, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Patti Flowers, Tanya and Pete Foster, Mary Meier, Betty Turner and Mary Poss.

Serving as background for the stage were mega scenes straight from “The Wizard of Oz,” including the yellow brick road leading through the field of poppies to the city of Oz.

First on stage were Roger and Troy, joined by Lisa with Emme Nees and Giora with son Jack Barker. The exchange between Rog (this was his 28th CCF appearance) and Troy (it was his 20th) proved their ongoing commitment to battling children’s cancer as well as their mutual respect and friendship for each other.

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Following Lisa’s and Giora’s personal testimonials about each of their reasons for undertaking the fundraiser, Tom Gilchrist sang a capella the Lord’s Prayer. (Quipped Roger afterward: “I’d trade my Heisman for a voice like that.”)

Under the direction of special events producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers, not a moment was lost for the fashion show of Dillard’s kiddo clothes. As Rog, Troy et al left the stage, emcee Scott Murray arrived at the podium to introduce the Children’s Cancer Fund artists and their celebrity escorts including

  • 6-year-old Cooper Dorr with Roger
  • 10-year-old Hayden Ritchie with Troy
  • 12-year-old Mercedes Howdeshell with Tara Pavlock and Ashleigh Panelli
  • 9-year-old Myles Allison with Jason Garrett
  • 13-year-old Carsyn Sapp with Sunny Malouf
  • 7-year-old Corbin Glasscock with Terrance Williams
  • 5-year-old Kamryn Rakestraw with Jim Stroud
  • 11-year-old Maxwell Matlock with members of the Dallas SWAT
  • 5-year-old Reese Skelte with “Dorothy”
  • 11-year-old Keamus Bryant with Medieval Times Red Knight
  • 8-year-old Trip Rowley with Brandon Carr

Unfortunately, 5-year-old Flick Blevins was under the weather and couldn’t make the event. In his stead, Dallas Fire Department #19’s Jerry Hooker, Michael Wolfe, Derrick Brouhard and John Keeler walked the runway holding his photo.

At this point, Scott introduced KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley to introduce the other cancer-surviving children and their celebrity escorts, including:

  • 13-year-old Andrew Russell with Kaitlyn Wade
  • 16-year-old Sabeen Wazir with Jake Pavelka
  • 6-year-old Jackson Houser with Morris Claiborne
  • 6-year-old Rina Cantrell with Jane McGarry
  • 15-year-old Saket Ashar with Dr. Ted Laetsch
  • 9-year-old Laura Beth Rote with Brianna Kiesel
  • 10-year-old Brady Pampilonia with Kliff Kingsbury
  • 9-year-old Julissa Garcia with Jocelyn White
  • 11-year-old Juan Lopez with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and Rowdy
  • 7-year-old Jordan McDowell with Miss Texas America
  • 16-year-old Averi Moya with Mitch Gaylord
  • 10-year-old Julia Brown with Amy Vanderoef
  • 12-year-old Christian Arroyo with Byron Jones
  • 9-year-old Lynette Quintana with the Pink Heals Firefighters
Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

As 18-year-old Kaitlyn Wade escorted child artist Andrew Russell, Marianne recalled how, years ago, Rog had escorted the pretty blonde on the runway when she was presented. Yes, she had conquered leukemia, but her story of challenges hadn’t end there. After winning the battle, she was the victim of a drunk driver. As the result of the horrendous car accident, 9-year-old Kaitlyn “spent two months in a coma and six months at Cook Children’s before she could return home.”

But on this evening, the emphasis was on the current crop of cancer-conquering kids as they mugged, twirled and charmed their way on the catwalk. Blonde Brill Garrett cheered each one like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Okay, so maybe she had an extra whoop when husband Jason took his turn in the spotlight with Myles Allison.

All of this was building up to the live auction. Troy won the trip to the Masters and learned from Rog all the perks associated with the package. Jana and Mike Brosin won the artwork created by CCF Gala artists and Christopher Martin.

To the delight of many of the ladies in the audience, Jake “The Bachelor” Pavelka was doing double duty. In addition to walking the runway, he also was part of the “Dancing With The Stars” package. Shoot! They could have auctioned off pictures with Jake and won a passel of dough, as lady after lady wanted a quick cell-snap with the cutie. But it was Tracy and Ben Lange who won the package. So, watch for them during Season 23 that is scheduled to air this fall.

As soon as the live auction ended, the focus shifted to the other end of the ballroom, where Emerald City took over to get guests on their feet and dancing the night away.

For more pictures from “An Evening in Oz,” check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening In Oz”

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

The annual Children’s Cancer Fund’s super-duper fashion show with celebrities escorting cancer-surviving children on the runway in Dillard’s clothes took a turn on Friday, April 22. Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley shifted the usual luncheon fundraiser to “An Evening In Oz” at the Hilton Anatole.

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Joining Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man were Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and nearly 900 other pals.

While the post is being finalized, check out the scenes at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

An Evening At Oz’s Live Auction Items Were The Topic Du Jour At The Children’s Cancer Fund Patron Party

Anne Davidson

Anne Davidson

As North Texas braced for another onslaught of rain, thunder, lighting and hail on Tuesday, March 29, the jammed crowd at Del Frisco’s bar could have cared less. But beyond the boys at the bar, the Children’s Cancer Fund patrons were having their special space and time in a private room at the back of the steakhouse.

Near the check-in, Anne Davidson was being thanked by An Evening in Oz Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Giora Barker for stepping up and being the presenting sponsor. Andre Vorster was chatting with Diane and Nick DiGiuseppe, CCF Treasurer Ashley Leete, Reed Kitchell, CCF Board President Dr. Karen McClard, Marlene and Dr. Richard Marks and Richard Eiseman.

Ashley Leete, Reed Kitchell and Karen McClard

Ashley Leete, Reed Kitchell and Karen McClard

Marlene and Richard Marks, Diane and Nick DiGiuseppe and Andre Vorster

Marlene and Richard Marks, Diane and Nick DiGiuseppe and Andre Vorster

But the topic making the rounds was the collection of live auction items that would be on the bloc for the Friday, April 22nd, fundraiser for Children’s Cancer Fund at the Hilton Anatole. In addition to a super-duper 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlisted Sport 4×4 being raffled off, the following goodies will be up for bidding:

  • The Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Experience — In addition to two seats on the Dallas Cowboys team charter plane for an away game during the 2016-2017 regular season, the winner will take home a team jersey signed by quarterback Tony Romo, a football signed by the team, a Cowboys helmet signed by Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and Jason Witten and a custom Cowboys-themed bike provided by the Villy Custom designers.
  • Hold Your Horses! — Experience the 2017 Kentucky Derby like the locals only dream of. This package includes four days and three nights of accommodations in Lexington and a Friday tour of a horse farm. The day of the big “run for the roses,” the winner will preview the day’s races with a professional handicapper and then watch the race from the first-floor Grandstand. For air transportation, American Airlines is providing two 25,000 AAdvantage miles certificates.
  • Wine and Dine at Del Frisco’s — For an evening out on the town, Del Frisco’s Steakhouse is always a hit. But for this winner, it will be tailor made thanks to Chef David Holben, who prepared a menu for 12 complete with a wine paring for each course.
  • Dancing With…The Bachelor — The Bachelor’s Jake Pavelka knows his way around Dancing With The Stars from his stint on the dance floor during Season 10. The winner of this package and a guest will have roundtrip airfare thanks to two 25,000 AAdvantage Miles certificates to Los Angeles for Jake to take them on a backstage visit with the dancing celebs. Then the twosome will have seats up “close to the action” when the evening’s competition gets underway.
  • An Evening in Oz Custom Painting — A true one-of-a-kind painting that personifies the magic of the Oz-theme evening has been created by children participating in the Gala fashion for the first time with the support of ever-popular artist Christopher H. Martin.
  • Brazilian Barbecue Bonanza — Instead of eating out, bring the party home with Texas de Brazil Director of Culinary Evandro Caregnato preparing a Brazilian barbecue meal completed with wine for 20. In addition to whipping up the meal, Evandro will share his recipe for the Brazilian signature cocktail, the Caipirinha. But there’s still more! GoVision will provide a 9’x16’ mobile LED screen to watch your favorite movie, sporting event or whatever. And since the screen is weather proof and 100% daylight visible, it’s ideal for outdoor watching anytime of the day.
  • Crazy for Cabo — Get away from it all with a passel of you friends by escaping to Cabo for a one-week stay in a Las Mananitas condo. Since the residence can accommodate eight thanks to two master bedrooms with king beds, one guest bedroom with a queen bed and a spare trundle bed plus three bathrooms, it will provide the perfect place to call home while taking in the sights and sounds of the resort town. To provide transportation, American Airlines is providing two 60,000-AAdvantage-mile certificates.

A Super-Duper Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 Is Being Raffled Off For Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening in Oz” Gala

Recently a cluster of kids and their moms headed to Clay Cooley Chevrolet in Irving. They weren’t going to buy a car or trade one in. No, they were there for a photo shoot.

As one mom and her kids left their car in the parking lot, she brushed her teenage daughter’s hair to be picture perfect. The daughter, Carsyn Sapp, looked smashing in black printed leggings and matching boots.

As they headed into the mammoth showroom, they were greeted by other mothers and their pre-teen munchkins. Some, like pretty-in-pink Kamryn Rakestraw, had bows in their blond hair. There was a whole gaggle of red-haired tykes including Reese Skelte, who was ready to rock and roll in multi-colored socks. But they all had one thing in common — each family had had a youngster who had emerged victorious in the battle against cancer.

The gathering was to promote the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala raffle of a very hunky Jeep. While the moms acted like everybody’s mom fussing with their kiddos, these moms were proven vets in the hand-holding department. Each had held the hands of one of their children through tests, diagnoses and treatments for cancer. And while a lot of parents may complain about waiting for ages in the car pool lane, these moms had held their breath too many times in waiting rooms.

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

As for Carsyn, she was the senior member of the cancer survivors at the shoot. Perhaps that’s why her smile seemed both youthful and ages old.

And what about the Jeep that is being raffled off at the Friday, April 22ndAn Evening In Oz” gala at the Hilton Anatole? Well, hold on to your steering wheel. This “customized 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 valued at over $60K” is not some grocery-shopping SUV. Thanks to NTX Auto Master and Epic 4×44 Off Road, it is fully tricked out and a traffic stopper. The only thing missing is a microwave.

And how did CCF Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley manage to get the Jeep as the raffle prize? Well, it helps to have “friends” in the car business. You know…friends like husband Clay Cooley and his Clay Cooley Automotive Group that donated the fully-equipped Jeep.

If you want a gander at this sweetheart on wheels, it will be on display on NorthPark Center’s lower level between Nordstrom and Macy’s from Friday, April 1 through Monday, April 11. Raffle tickets are going for $100 per ticket or six for $500.

Thanks to funds raised at the April 22nd gala and by raffling off the Jeep, more research and treatments will help handholding moms and their kids like Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese.

BTW, if you see Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese on the runway at the gala, wave at them. They just might wave back.

Children’s Cancer Fund’s Lynn And Jim Stroud Exemplify The Ongoing Commitment In The War Against Pediatric Cancer

It was Friday, February 12, in the Founders Room at the Dallas Country Club, where the Children’s Cancer Fund Advisory Board was meeting to learn about plans for the upcoming “An Evening in Oz” on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole.

For early arrivals like Lynn and Jim Stroud, the Children’s Cancer Fund was more than meetings and fundraising. It was a passion resulting from the death of their daughter Jennifer Lynn Stroud’s death to cancer. The thought of her daughter still ignited tears in her mom even after all these years.

Brittany Bannon and Jim and Lynn Stroud

Brittany Bannon and Jim and Lynn Stroud

It was back in 1993, that Lynn and Jim and Jennifer’s big brother/7-year-old Will Stroud were slammed when 5-year-old Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on Christmas Eve.

Jim admitted looking back they were totally blindsided. While most kids dread their annual vaccinations, Jennifer underwent nasty but necessary treatments of chemo and radiation. Still it wasn’t enough. At that time there were only 40+ cases of that type of leukemia in the country.

Despite their ability to personally provide $1M in trying to save their daughter and the best healthcare provided by Children’s and M.D. Anderson, they lost Jennifer 26 months later.

But Lynn and Jim Stroud and even Will didn’t hesitate to continue the battle against children’s cancer. Unlike some families that falter and fall apart under such strain, the Strouds came together to carry on the battle against pediatric cancer. Lynn and Jim created the Jennifer Lynn Stroud Foundation to “promote research for a leukemia cure and offers educational, emotional and spiritual support to families impacted by pediatric cancer.”

Will Stroud

Will Stroud

They also joined the Children’s Cancer Fund. Will, who went into investments with his dad, earned his private pilot’s license and flies pediatric cancer patients between Dallas and Houston’s M.D. Anderson.

Jennifer may have been lost due to cancer, but the battle against cancer gained a trio of warriors in the Stroud clan.

It is that type of long-term commitment that makes the Strouds and the Children’ Cancer Fund forces to be reckoned in the world of pediatric cancer.

Want to meet Lynn, Jim and all-grown-up Will? Chances you’ll run into them at the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala.

Roger Staubach And Troy Aikman Get Together With Children’s Cancer Fund Kiddos For Photo Session At Children’s Medical Center

So, the Dallas Cowboys may be staying put for the upcoming Super Bowl. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the team has a pretty nice spot in the upcoming draft. They also still have Cowboys legends like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman living in the hood and supporting the North Texas community. One of their favs is the Children’s Cancer Fund.

As a matter of fact, the two Super Bowl quarterbacks were at Children’s Medical Center on Tuesday, January 12, just after lunch. The reason wasn’t to talk sports. As co-chairs of the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala, Rog and Troy were there for a photo session with some of the CCF children to promote the Friday, April 22, fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach and Giora Barker

Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach and Giora Barker

While Event Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Giora Barker looked quite adorable in their Louboutins, the boys were equally fashionable. Roger noted Troy’s “new look suit.” Troy responded that it was indeed a new suit. In his navy blue suit, Rog shrugged, admitting that wife Marianne had “wanted me to get a new suit.” Still a Heisman trophy and Super Bowl ring trumps any fashion trends.

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman

In a wink Troy had been herded to the corral of sports photographers and KDFW’s Mike Doocy to give his opinion on the upcoming Super Bowl, while Roger happily stayed put with Lisa and Giorga. Across the room from the lights and cameras, the CCF kids were busily at a table with crayons and paper. They seemed sorta nonplussed by all the commotion. Perhaps they knew their moment in the spotlight was just minutes away. Besides, they were the heroes for all those in the room. They were the ones battling cancer.

For Lisa and Giora, the evening fundraiser is very personal. Giora’s son Jack Barker had conquered T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia thanks to Children’s. It was back in 2010 that Jack had been one of the CCF kids.

On the other hand, while none of Lisa’s three kids had had cancer, Children’s resources and compassion had seen the Cooley family through life-threatening issues with each of the now-healthy children. As she watched the CCF children at the table drawing, she shook her head imagining what the kids and their families had been going through.

Maxwell Matlock, Kern Wildenthal, Trip Rowley and Stephen Skapek

Maxwell Matlock, Kern Wildenthal, Trip Rowley and Stephen Skapek

In the middle of the room, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Chief of the Pediatric Hematology-oncology Division at UT Southwestern Dr. Stephen Skapek were chatting. Stephen admitted that thanks to fundraising efforts like CCF, incredible developments had taken place in cancer research. Having studied at Duke and Harvard, he seemed a bit humbled by the developments in battling cancer. He attributed it ti the combination of funding, technology, research and dedicated professionals.

Children's Cancer Fund group photo

Children’s Cancer Fund group photo

Someone directed Troy and the videographers that the CCF kids had finished their drawings, and it was time for the photo session to take place. Photo setups were created with all types of combinationa — Roger and Troy; Roger, Troy, Lisa and Giora; Roger, Troy, Lisa, Giora and the kids; Roger, Troy, Lisa, Giora, the kids, Kern and Steve; etc. By the final round, the kids were ranging between blasé to scene stealing.

Hayden Ritchie and Troy Aikman

Hayden Ritchie and Troy Aikman

It was then that the duo were able to have some one-on-one conversations with the kids.

Next Roger and Troy took their places at a table to sign all types of paraphernalia. An old hand at autographing footballs, Roger suggested that the supplied pens were not quite meeting the need. Immediately a search was out to find just the thing—a Sharpie.

BTW, with the theme for the evening fundraiser being “An Evening In Oz,” guess what will be the featured entertainment. Yup, Emerald City. Natch!

Tickets for the event are $300 per person, but a table of ten can be had for $2,750!

MySweetWishList: Children’s Cancer Fund

According to The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

“My wish would be that no parent ever again has to lose a child to cancer.  While this wish may not come true this year, it will happen; thanks in large part to Children’s Cancer Fund.

“Thirty years ago, half of all children diagnosed with cancer would not survive. Today, the survival rate is up to 80%! As you can see, we have made wonderful progress in the fight against this horrible disease, but cancer is still the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S.

“My wish for this year is that all tables be sold-out at our annual CCF Gala!! We are working hard on a record breaking year, and if we are able to sell all of our tables, it will go a long way in helping us reach our goal. The monies raised will be used for continued research with our partners UT Southwestern and Children’s Health. We also support the children and their families when faced with the heartbreaking reality that is children’s cancer.

“Won’t you search your heart and help these children? Please go to The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala and purchase a table or sponsorship. Our Gala will be held on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole beginning at 6:00. There will be the children’s fashion show, live and silent auction, dinner and dancing to the sounds of Emerald City. You will have a wonderful, fun-filled evening, while at the same time, doing a wonderful thing for our children battling this dreaded disease.

“We can’t do it by ourselves, but with your help, we can reach our goal, and help the precious kids and their families who deal with cancer on a daily basis.”

-By Lisa Cooley, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala co-chair

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Lengthy Event Raises Money For Children’s Cancer Fund

Since its founding in 1982, the Children’s Cancer Fund has awarded more than $7 million to help Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center in their battles against childhood cancer. Friday, April 4th, organizers were aiming to add another quarter-million dollars or so for the fight from the nonprofit’s 26th Annual Luncheon & Fashion Show at the Hilton Anatole.

CCF’s annual fundraiser is always one of the most heart-warming—and heart-rending—events of the year. And, the 2014 edition was no exception. That was evident right from the get-go, when many of the 39 participating young cancer patients and survivors gathered backstage with various celebrities before the luncheon began.

Zoe Teemer and Jim Stroud*

Zoe Teemer and Jim Stroud*

Valeria Renteria and Michelle LeBoeuf*

Valeria Renteria and Michelle LeBoeuf*

Over in one corner of the noisy space, a young girl was getting her hair curled. Another child was being interviewed by someone from NBC-5. Still others were posing for photos with “circus clowns,” or with a couple of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Country singer Rudy Gatlin sat talking quietly with one youngster, his arm thrown over the back of her wheelchair, while, not far away, Miss Texas Teen, Kellie Stewart, stood in the middle of a group of pink-clad firefighters from Longview as someone snapped their photo.

yler Kuelbs and Stacie Wells**

Tyler Kuelbs and Stacie Wells**

The heart-rending part continued in the Chantilly Ballroom, where nearly 1,000 people had gathered for the luncheon and fashion show. After welcoming messages from longtime Honorary Co-chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman (it was Roger’s 26th year, Troy’s 18th), Luncheon Co-chairs Tyler Kuelbs and Stacie Wells addressed the crowd. Each was accompanied by her young cancer-survivor son—Nick Kuelbs and AJ Wells—and each broke down weeping before she could finish her brief message.

After attendees heard from Mistress and Master of Ceremonies Clarice Tinsley and Steve Eagar of Fox 4 News and began enjoying a lunch of cream of spinach soup, classic coq au vin, and lemon meringue pie, Scott Murray brought on auctioneer Matt Blevins. Blevins proceeded to conduct a very long, very drawn-out auction segment, during which the likes of a painting, a wine-cellar dinner, and a South African safari were sold—and the patience of the 1,000 guests was tried.

Carter Fielding and Roger Staubach*

Carter Fielding and Roger Staubach*

Following the second of two videos—and then a cash call after that!—the runway show, or what Eagar called “the meat of the program,” began at long last. Sponsored by Fashion Presenter Dillard’s, the runway show was adorable as always. Among the most memorable sights were Rush Urschel, president of the Junior Leadership Board at Children’s, accompanying little Brooke Hart, who was on crutches; former Dallas Cowboy Ray Johnston holding up a card representing Logan Quintana, who was feeling under the weather and couldn’t attend; and Staubach with Carter Fielding, who was sporting a “moustache” and holding up both hands in a triumphant Churchill-style, V-for-Victory salute. Cracked Eagar: “He’s a future politician, as you can see.”

After a raffle drawing for a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA, a pitch to buy the tulip centerpieces, and a closing song by Amber Carrington, semi-finalist on “The Voice” TV show, the event ended at last around 1:30 p.m., roughly half an hour past the scheduled closing time. For those who’d been there since 10 a.m., when the affair began, it all made for a very long, very exhausting day that might have benefited from a little prudent editing.

* Photo credit: Juan Pulido
** Photo credit: Edgar Vargas

Children’s Cancer Fund And Cattle Barons Ball Teams Go Through Moving Experiences

Summer time is traditionally moving time. Just last week the Crystal Charity Ball move of headquarters from one “village” to another “village” was reported.

But the CCB team wasn’t the only one packing up and relocating. The Children’s Cancer Fund has a “new home base.” You find these wonderful fundraisers in Suite 463 at 10300 N. Central Expressway. So, where is it on Central Expressway? There are so many buildings. Think on the east side of I-75 just south of Meadow Road and north of Walnut Hill Lane.

Another move was undertaken by the Cattle Barons Ball gals, who are preparing for their 40th anniversary. They must have overheard the CCB ladies in their plans to move to Turtle Creek Village because that’s where they’ve set up camp. But unlike the Crystals on the ground floor overlooking Turtle Creek, the Baronesses are on the seventh floor of 3838 Oak Lawn with views of Al Biernat’s and the Park Cities.

So, if you need any advice on moving, these groups are your go-to sources. They’ve made their moves smoothly and on a budget that would impress any accountant.

Local Organization Is Not Part Of “America’s Worst Charities”

Last night CNN and the Tampa Bay Times issued a report about “America’s Worst Charities.” It revealed the 50 worst “ranked by money blown on soliciting costs. Totals from the latest 10 years of available federal tax filings.”

One of those (#10) was the Children’s Cancer Fund of America (CCFA). MySweetCharity contacted Dallas’ Children’s Cancer Fund (CCF) about any possible connection between the two organizations. Here is the response from a CCF’s spokesperson:

“The two groups have been confused before, but they are not associated with each other in any way. The Children’s Cancer Fund of America has been listed as a fraudulent charity before, and it is unfortunate that the names are similar, but that’s where the association ends.”

So rest easy. That annual fashion show fundraiser that has local celebrities escorting children warriors battling cancer is in no way a part of America’s worst charity lineup.

Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon & Fashion Show Splashed With Success For Its 25th Anniversary

The 1,000 guests at the Hilton Anatole only thought they were attending the Children’s Cancer Fund’s 25th Annual Luncheon & Fashion Show on May 3. Instead they found themselves in a glamorous undersea grotto. But more about that in a second.

Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman

While the guests checked out the silent auction in the lobby outside of the Chantilly Ballroom, there were two other areas that were jamming with activity. In the Peacock Room, the VIP’s were lining up to have their photos taken with Honorary Co-chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. As they waited for the next group to “grip and grin” for a photo, the two former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks seemed like two brothers who never tire of catching up. Nearby was Daryl Johnston, who was also the center of photo attention.

Daryl Johnston

Daryl Johnston

Over to the side was Honorary Co-chair Marianne Staubach, who shied away from the photo opps and just visited with guests. She and Roger had just returned from taking 14 of their 15 grandkids to Disney World. When asked how they managed all those youngsters, she laughed that some of their parents came along to ramrod the troops. Marianne then added that the oldest grandchild, who’s 28, even came along.

Chenee Cayco and Lord Jeff Henderson

Chenee Cayco and Lord Jeff Henderson

Across the hall in the Wedgewood Room, things were not quite as orderly and proper. Heck, no. Clowns were making balloon animals, Red Knight Jeff Henderson was charming little princesses like Chenee Cayco, beachballs were being tossed around by Margaret Strand, Hailee Russell Alpin was having her makeup and hair done and Danae “Miss Texas” Couch was being photographed with teenage boys and future Miss Texases. What was Miss Texas doing here? According to Danae, “I believe it’s important to encourage children with diseases to keep fighting.”

Kami Nelson and Rudy Gatlin

Kami Nelson and Rudy Gatlin

Over at a table Rudy Gatlin was talking with CCF Show Alum Kami Nelson about their upcoming performance in the show.  “She’s a very special person,” Rudy said. That was the consensus of all of the “celebrities” about the children filling the room. It was their day to be in the spotlight instead of in treatment for cancer. They were the heroes of heroes. In addition to walking the runway with the well-knowns to the applause of the 1,000 guest, they were also wearing their new duds thanks to Dillard’s. Each year the retailer has let the kid models pick out their outfits and take them home.

Natasha Green

Natasha Green

In the hallway, UPS’ Lindsay Cordova and Michael Wheeler were giving a quick driving lesson to Natasha Green in a mini-UPS truck.

While all of these activities were going on, event producer Rhonda Chambers Sargent was in the ballroom going over last-minute walk-throughs and having “The Voice” runner-up Terry McDermott rehearse his song.

Elizabeth Farr and Jennifer DeLaughter

Elizabeth Farr and Jennifer DeLaughter

In the meantime, Event Co-chairs Jennifer DeLaughter and Elizabeth Farr were looking at the ballroom that had been transformed into a Tiffany palace that Ariel would have loved. With walls totally covered with mammoth drapings and blue and pink lighting, the tables and chairs were equally spectacular with blue and beige satin fabric.  The stage was bubbling with blue, yellow and green balloons with additional undersea balloon critters.

To provide an absolutely flawless view of the every iota of the show and the artwork by the child artists, seven huge screens were ready to let everyone in the room not miss one thing.

Now, here’s a nice little factoid about how the people and nonprofits work together to raise funds. First, all those miles of fabric that sent the look of the room over the top had been donated by Prashe Décor.

And those mammoth screens, well, it seems that just two days later the Texas Rangers were to have their annual fundraiser, “Triple Play Game Show Spectacular,” in the ballroom. They had already arranged to have the screens and riggings for their event and offered them to CCF for the luncheon. Nice play. . . very nice play.

Mike Crum, Ian Lemus and Clarie Tinsley

Mike Crum, Ian Lemus and Clarie Tinsley

When the doors opened, the luncheon and show were quickly underway. Unlike last year in which the lengthy show was broken into two segments, this one moved quickly and efficiently without losing one bit of compassion. Veteran emcees Clarice Tinsley and Steve Eagar handled their duties seamlessly. Scott Murray and Matt Blevins moved the live auction quickly.

"Sea Smiles" by Christopher H. Martin and the CCF kids

“Sea Smiles” by Christopher H. Martin and the CCF kids

The two highlights included the auctioning of “Sea Smiles, a whimsical painting by Christopher H. Martin and the CCF kids, and the “Call for Cash” in which Children’s Medical Center’s Dr. Shannon Cohn and her patient Rina Cantrell and her mom Angela Cantrell were introduced to the crowd. Wearing white rose wrist corsages from Rina’s grandmother, the two looked more like old buds as opposed to doctor-patient. All in white, three-year-old Rina twirled and swirled along the runway. She was just like any other little girl. Only Rina, like the other CCF children, was one with a mission — to beat cancer. Thanks to the 1,000 guests and the event organizers, funds were raised to help Rina and the others accomplish their goal.

Dr. Shannon Cohn and Rina Cantrell

Dr. Shannon Cohn and Rina Cantrell

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon & Fashion Show

_MG_9683The Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon & Fashion Show is the one occasion when the highest-profiled celebs are totally upstaged and don’t mind one iota. It’s because the center of attention is on the munchkin heroes partying and parading on the runway.

You might want to check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see some of the most adorable cancer warriors around and their adult pals.

With Troy Aikman Out With The Flu, Roger Staubach Does Double Duty At Children’s Cancer Fund Shoot

Queenie really wanted to attend the annual photo shoot Tuesday afternoon for the Children’s Cancer Fund with Honorary Chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Alas, Queenie wasn’t able to because of a nasty head cold. With watery eyes and a runny proboscis, she appeared to need a plumber more than a doctor. Evidently Troy was in worse shape. He was the latest victim of the flu that’s been making the rounds.

Luckily, a MySweetCharity stringer filed this report on great kids meeting with a great, healthy quarterback:

“Children’s Cancer Fund held its annual photo shoot for the 25th Annual Luncheon & Fashion Show. The annual luncheon, which will take place on May 3, serves as Children’s Cancer Fund’s largest fundraiser for pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

Children's Cancer Fund group shot

Children’s Cancer Fund group shot

“Twenty-two children, who are being treated for cancer at Children’s Medical Center and will serve as featured runway models and artists for the spring luncheon, were excited to have their pictures taken and meet long-time Children’s Cancer Fund Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.  With Troy out sick with the flu (Roger suggested that he could be airbrushed into the group shot), Roger went solo with the kids who brought footballs, helmets, books, cards, glasses and even cowboy boots for him to sign. 

Roger Staubach and Margaret Strand

Roger Staubach and Margaret Strand

“As he signed a ball for 5-year-old Margaret Strand, he told her he was sorry he wasn’t Justin Beiber. But she didn’t seem to mind.   After signing her football, he had her back up a bit across the room and proved to the crowd that he still has “the arm” as she victoriously caught his pass …as did every other child who brought a football for him to sign! There was no shortage of smiles throughout the room.

Jennifer DeLaughter, Elizabeth Farr and Camille Cain

Jennifer DeLaughter, Elizabeth Farr and Camille Cain

“The photo shoot also included Luncheon Co-Chairs Jennifer DeLaughter and Elizabeth Farr, Camille Cain of Children’s Cancer Fund, and physicians from the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center also attended the photo shoot.

 Dr. Patrick Leavey and Paige Boutilier

Dr. Patrick Leavey and Paige Boutilier

Each child’s individual portrait and work of art will be featured in the Inspiration Book, which will be unveiled and sold at the luncheon.  Proceeds will support pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern.

The 2013 luncheon is slated to raise over $300,000 for pediatric cancer research.Since 1982, Children’s Cancer Fund has donated over $7 million to the childhood cancer cause. The luncheon will be at the Hilton Anatole.  Tickets are $150 each or $1,250 for a table of ten.  Visit www.childrenscancerfund.com or call 972.664.1450.

Photos provided by Children's Cancer Fund

 

Share-A-Date: Children’s Cancer Fund’s 25th Annual Luncheon And Fashion Show

AJ Wells and Roger Staubach (File photo)

Friday, May 3, 2013: The Children’s Cancer Fund‘s annual luncheon/fashion show is one of the most joyous runway events in the area. With athletes and celebrities escorting youthful cancer patients and survivors, there are smiles throughout the entire place. It’s literally a catwalk of heroes/heroines escorting each other.

Since its start in 1982, CCF has donated more than “$7M to the childhood cancer cause.”

For its 25th anniversary, the 2013  Luncheon and Fashion Show Co-chairs Jennifer DeLaughter and Elizabeth Farr have arranged for former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach to return as honorary chairs.

Jennifer and Elizabeth are also having the luncheon/fashion show held once again in the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom for the main event.

It’s truly a great event that everyone wishes was unnecessary. So, let’s raise a bunch of dough, celebrate the greats among us and rid the world of a cruel disease.

Children’s Cancer Fund’s Luncheon Hits The Big Top With $288,000 In 2012 And Plans For 25th Anniversary In 2013

Love to start the week with great news. Thanks to the Children’s Cancer Fund, it excellent news, both past and future.

Behind the scenes (File photo

The CCF accountants have been beating up their calculators and have come up with the final take for the May 2nd Cancer Fund Luncheon and Fashion Show. Thanks to Luncheon Chairs Lori Buschel and Keyea Webster and Honorary Chairs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, they brought in a whopping $288,000! That’s $24,000 more than 2011!

And while that’s indeed great news, it also raises the bar for the 2013 Luncheon Co-chairs Jennifer DeLaughter and Elizabeth Farr. Not only are they going to have to try to top that, they’re also responsible for blowing the roof off the 25th anniversary of the annual fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Fund.

Not to worry. Jennifer and Elizabeth have already locked down the date. Mark Friday, May 3, at the Hilton Anatole on your calendars. Roger and Troy have.

Children’s Cancer Fund Fashion Show & Luncheon Was A Four-Ringed Circus With An Extended Break

Clowns

An everyday, normal circus would have three rings, animals, clowns, lots of food, kids, top performers and live action. Well, the Children’s Cancer Fund‘s 24th Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show on May 2 had all of that except the first two. There were absolutely no animals in sight unless you counted Chuck E. Cheese. Instead of three rings, there were four rings of activities spread throughout the Hilton Anatole’s Trinity Ballroom and surrounding rooms.

Chuck E. Cheese

First, let’s explain that in the past, the event has been held in the Chantilly Ballroom, but The Real Estate Council already had dibs on the ballroom to set up for its Fight Night on the following evening. But Luncheon Co-chairs Lori Buschel and Keyea Webster took this as an opportunity to create the big top in a really big way.

Now on to the circus.

RING #1 — The warm-up act was held in the Wedgwood Foyer, where Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman posed for pictures with the big sponsors and VIP’s. Troy even brought along his camera and his daughters saying the girls were really excited about attending the event. When asked about his camera, Troy admitted that he was using a Canon because his Nikon proved to be a little too advanced for his needs.

Reception

RING #2— After passing through the Rotunda, guests partied at the pre-lunch reception in the Trinity Pre-Function Area with champagne corks popping along with Dr Peppers being served up to kids of all ages. While some checked out the huge silent auction items, others made the mistake of stepping outside for a smoke or a cellphone call. Seems that it was a tad bit difficult for some to get a signal inside. but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was getting back inside. Once you were out, you were out. Luckily, understanding guests on the inside opened the one-way doors to allow the out-of-touch guests to return to the circus.

Behind the scenes

RING #3 — Some will swear that the real action of the day was taking place in the Trinity I Exhibit Hall, where the soon-to-be-onstage types were getting to know each other, as well as prepare for their catwalks. Throughout this magical prep room, clowns and magicians entertained, food was on tables everywhere, makeup including nail polish was being applied to the youngsters.

Averi Moya and Clarice Tinsley

A word about these behind the scenes folks — these creative types are using far more than brushes, magic tricks and balloons. They have personalities that are simply amazing as they talk and work with the kids, some of whom are vets of past CCF shows and others who are debuting. But don’t for one second think any of these kids are wimps. Like war veterans they have each faced emotional and physical challenges that would send adults running.

The sound of champagne corks may have been heard in Ring #2, but here it was purely giggles and major laughter. Celeb escorts got to know the young cancer patients, who were the day’s headliners. Averi Moya kept Clarice Tinsley, LeeAnne Locken and Rich Emberlin laughing.  Boys will be boys and AJ Wells and Jozef  Vega

Katie Mao and Pat Smith

scampered around with balloon swords besting the likes of Errol Flynn and Antonio Banderas.  Pat Smith learned that Katie Mao shared the same date as her daughter’s birthday in November. Ballerina Allisyn Hsieh was amazing  the little models with her tippy toe poise. Lauren Shackleford and Brooke Archer were creating paper plate critters.

Lauren Shackleford and Brooke Archer

RING #4 — In the Trinity II Multi-Use Room, preparations were just finishing up before the doors opened. An aerial acrobat was testing the equipment, while organizers decided to install stanchions to prevent guest from walking under the set-up. In addition to the aerial act, huge colorful cubes and spheres chandeliers along with upside down umbrellas were suspended from the big top. On stage were a red-and-white backdrop with huge gold square frames on either side of a gold circular entry just perfect for introducing the stars.

Nathan Johnson

Just as planned the doors opened and the stanchions did their job as guests avoided being dropped upon by the non-stop acrobat. They, of course, saluted him with their cellphones.  Almost immediately ringmaster Nathan Johnson called attention to the center ring for Lori, Keyea, Roger and Troy to get things going.

Melinda Shapiro and Fred Shapiro

Then KDFW’s Steve Eagar along with Clarice introduced Melinda Shapiro along with her father Fred. It was 24 years ago that Melinda’s mom, Debby, co-chaired the first luncheon along with Hedda Schmidt.

Carter Townes and Rudy Gatlin

Following the Shapiros, the presentation of the Rainbow artists in their Dillard’s finery along with their celeb escorts. All went perfectly. Even those two rambunctious chaps AJ and Jozef had set aside their balloons and acted like well-behaved five- and six-year-olds. Each group got extended applause as Steve read out a brief bio on each of the child models.

AJ Wells and Roger Staubach

It was after AJ and Roger finished up their runway stint that an extended break took place. First there was the live auction that led off with family portraits valued at $1,018 for $150. Actually it wasn’t an auction item. Anyone who wanted the package could put their hand up and get it. At one point photographer David Irvin took over the microphone and talking up the package to grow the hands. As if that wasn’t enough, he went out in the audience to point out folks who wanted the offer.

Dr. Kasey Leger and Candace Darden

This segment was followed by the live auction of six other items. And then there was the “Call for Cash,” in which celebs like Daryl Johnston, Drew Pearson, Jason Witten, Mike Modano, Dat Nguyen and Rudy Gatlin went out in the audience to collect donations. To get the audience revved up for this, Dr. Kasey Leger and cancer survivor Candace Darden were introduced to the audience with a compelling story of Candace’s battle with cancer. While Ray Johnston played in the background, the boys hit the audience with women shouting for specific celebs to pose with them for pictures before getting their booty.

Early departures

While traditional and raising money, these break activities either led some to believe that the show was over or it was getting late. Whatever. By the time the money collecting was done and the Part II of the fashion show had started, five tables along the runway were pretty much people-less.

Jason Witten, Reece Hokit and Tony Romo

Too bad because the second part of the fashion show was just as great as Part I with the grand finale being Tony Romo joining Witten and Reece Hokit.

Share-A-Date: Children’s Cancer Fund Fashion Show And Luncheon

Averi Moya and Steve Eager

Wednesday, May 2, 2012: The Children’s Cancer Fund will be celebrating its 24th fashion show and luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. Ah, but before you set your GPS for the 28,400-square-foot Chantilly Ballroom, think again. Because the event has grown beyond huge, organizers have moved it to the 45,000-square-foot Trinity Ballroom.

Luncheon co-chairs will be Lori Buschel and Keyea Webster. Honorary Co-chairs will veteran CCF champs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. KDFW-Ch. 4’s Clarice Tinsley and Steve Eagar will once again be handling the emcee duties.

If You Swing, You’re Going To Love September

It’s the first of September and the postal service just may make its goal thanks to all the invitations that are flying in. While most folks think of the fall season as luncheons, dinners, fashion shows and other very proper events for fundraising, many find golf courses as the place to support nonprofits. Here are two that are celebrating their third anniversary for the good of children:

Monday, September 19 at Lantana Golf Club — The SBB Management Company 3rd Annual Golf Classic will benefit Children’s Cancer Fund. The format is a four-person scramble with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. As you might recall, Fred Shapiro has been a driving force for the tournament. And you just never know who will be part of your team. For instance, former MLB player Al Oliver is scheduled to be on the course. Immediately following the tournament, a dinner will be held with a silent auction.

It’s a great event that was “conceived a few years ago as a way for SBB to thank its homeowners association clients, involve its vendors and business partners and donate money to a great charity.” The past two tournaments have raised $84,000 for CCF.

Friday, September 30 at Coyote Ridge Golf Club — The 3rd Annual Friends of deVille Golf Tournament presented by Surgical Associates of North Texas along with GEICO and Dr. and Mrs. Allan deVilleneuve will benefit Hope Cottage. Hope Cottage graduates Dr. Scott and Todd deVilleneuve have put this one together.

The talented folks at Hope Cottage have put together ten reasons why you want to play in the 3rd Annual Friends of deVille Golf. Fashionistas will love #7 and #3.

Children’s Cancer Fund Fashion Show/Luncheon Was A Royal Delight

Photo Gallery Alert: Additional photos are available for viewing MySweetCharity’s “Photo Gallery”

The Children’s Cancer Fund Beyond the Rainbow fashion show/luncheon is always a wonderland of heroic children, celebrities from all walks of life and adulating adults. Before the official event even starts, the pre-event goings-on are worth the price of admission. Friday at the Hilton Anatole was no different except. .  . but more about that later.

In one room VIP’s lined up for visits and autographs with honorary chairs Roger Staubach and Daryl Johnston, who was subbing in for Troy Aikman. It seemed Troy, who has been in attendance for the past 12 years, had a commitment that precluded his being on hand. On the sidelines stood Marianne Staubach, who flawlessly handles her role at Mrs. Roger to a T.

Daryl Johnston, Fred Shapiro, Roger Staubach

Another person whom guests might not have recognized was Fred Shapiro, whose daughter Melinda is a veteran CCF survivor. Having organized the SBB Annual Golf Classic two year ago to benefit CCF, Fred was checking with Roger about his participation in the September 19th tournament.

Summer Simons having makeup applied

In the another room it was a totally different scene. Instead of adults being rather proper, a multitude of children, clowns, stylists and good sports were having a grand times. While the boys preferred to play with balloons and run around, the girls enjoyed the pampering of makeup artists and hair stylists. They had no idea that all these preparations would lead up to an event that would add to the $7 million CCF has raised since 1982 for cancer research in Dallas. But who would blame them with the Tooth Fairy, Chuck E. Cheez and Dallas Cowboys Rowdy hanging with them.

Kaitlin Cooper

But these weren’t just ordinary kiddos. Nope, these children were cancer survivors, who were the heroes of the day. As the time wound down for their walks on the catwalk, 7-year-old Kaitlin Cooper sat at the steps leading up to the runway in the Chantilly Ballroom. Having been diagnosed with cancer at the age of three, she was a real trooper in the world of healthcare. But modeling was another thing. This would be her first time for CCF’s event and she was trying to remember to throw a kiss to the audience — always a crowd pleaser according to reports.

Renee Cooper

Kaitlin’s mother, Rénee Cooper with her long brown hair had learned so much from her daughter’s journey through treatments. It was that experience that inspired Rénee to become part of 46 Momma’s in September. What is 46 Mommas? It’s 46 women across the country, who will shave their heads in an effort to create greater awareness and raise funds for children’s cancer research. How did they get the name? 46 children are diagnosed daily with leukemia cancer.

But then it was nearing show time as the houselights came up, the Anatole staff stood at attention and the Kings and Queen’s backdrop of a castle glowed in lights of green, blue, yellow and red. Within minutes the place was filled and Troy sent his apologies via a video.

Amy Maurer

After Roger and Daryl escorted luncheon co-chairs Amy Maurer and Summer Olmstead to the podium to

Summer Olmstead

thank the audience, Scott Murray took over with auctioneer Matt Blevins in from Fort Worth with his entourage. Stomping his ostrich boots on the runway, Matt was in overdrive as if he were heading up the Fat Stock Show auction for the prized bull.

Anthony Johnson Jr.

In closing the lively cash raising, Dr. Raven Cooksey and Anthony Johnson Jr. put a shout out for contributions from the guests. To help gather the envelopes Daryl, Drew Pearson and Tony Dorsett were on hand from an eager crowd.

Then it was on with the show of youngsters modeling clothes from Dillard’s. No, stylists selected the clothes. The children picked out their own outfits and got to keep them as a gift from Dillard’s. One insider confided that the guys generally went for the surfer duds, while the little ladies headed straight to the dressy outfits.

Miracle Francis and Garry Seith

With KDFW-FOX’s Clarice Tinsley and Steve Eager doing the commentary, the 38 child models included the CCF artists (Kelsey Oudshoorn, Jose Olalde Garcia, Sinoury Lindsey, Lisa Adams, Alianna Gavalya, Reece Hokit, Natalie Burraston, Jack Barker, Maykela Burchfield, Kaitlin Cooper, Anthony Johnson Jr., Jorge Palomo, Shae Henderson, Summer Simons, Madison Sikes, Abraheem Khan, Michael Malone, Da’Coren Littleton, Miracle Francis and Mary Margaret Deering) and the Rainbow models (Destiny Camacho, Bevanna Cardona, Emma Cruz, Roberto Cruz Espinosa, Jordan Flint, Kyle Freeland, Callie Horne, Ian Loven, Jocelyn Lozano, Jannett Maldonado, Brenda Solis, Carolina Suarez, Ivana Vachha, Nivea Verver, Allison Wright, Jameka Woodberry, Carmen Woolard and Shah Zohair).

Averi Moya and Steve Eager

At the close of the show, 11-year old CCF fav Averi Moya helped Clarice and Steve pull the winning raffle tickets from baskets.

Then it was former Dallas Mavericks player/cancer survivor Ray Johnston, who played the closing song as the parade of children made their finale walk.

Remember about how this year’s CCF event was a tad bit different? When asked why the music seemed more classical and slow moving than years in the past, CFF fashion show producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers said it was because the more elegant music seemed to fit with the castle and royalty theme.

Then, hesitating, Rhonda continued that this year’s event was an especially poignant one for the organizers. Longtime CCF volunteer Shelley Shwiff, who had battled breast cancer for nine years, died in January. Through her years with CCF, Shelley had served on the board of directors, advisory board, chaired the luncheon and “was still giving herself to the cause until the very end.” Despite her death, Shelley was represented by the numerous friends who bought tables in her name. As one friend put, “I just know Shelley was there in spirit today.” In the years to come, one couldn’t help but suspect that she’ll still be there for the children.