Leukemia Texas’ Concert For A Cure At The Rustic Features Reckless Kelly—And Great Results For Fighting Leukemia

As more than 400 people streamed into The Rustic’s outdoor patio Thursday, September 28, for Leukemia Texas‘ fifth annual Concert for a Cure, the group’s CEO, Mandy O’Neill, sat in a “cabana” at the back of the property reviewing notes with the chairs before taking off to supervise the festivities.

Below her, guests like JB Hayes, Natalie Solis, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Roger Hendren, and Amanda and Lloyd Ward were catching up with friends and eagerly awaiting the appearance of the evening’s headliner, Reckless Kelly. Mandy, meantime, was expressing her hope that the evening’s take would at least match last year’s total of $125,000.

Jenny Anchondo, Marco Rivera, Stephanie Hollman and Mandy O’Neill*

The aim seemed do-able, if the crowd’s enthusiasm was any indication. Up on the raised stage, Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast from AMP 103.7-FM—followed by event Co-Chairs Jenny Anchondo and Stephanie Hollman—spent time revving up the partygoers. Jenny sits on the Leukemia Texas board, the audience was told, while Stephanie successfully underwent a bone-marrow donation in May in Oklahoma City.

Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast**

After introducing “Natalie,” a young woman who was having various medical problems, the chairs brought out  former NFL guard Marco Rivera, who played two years (in 2005 and ’06) with the Dallas Cowboys. Marco asked the crowd to bid on tickets to the ‘Boys’ upcoming game with the Green Bay Packers, saying, “I promise you, the Dallas Cowboys will not kneel!” After Marco started the bidding at $500, the ducats went for $1,100.

Natatlie’s mother Vivian, Natalie and Marco Rivera**

Then it was time for Reckless Kelly, the much-lauded, Austin-based Americana band. The group played generously for more than an hour, sprinkling their hits with a few cover songs by Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”) and Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”). As they did, a few “swing” dancers showed off their fancy steps down in front of the stage.

Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun**

They weren’t the only ones strutting their stuff. When all was said and done, Mandy reported that “it looks like we will be exceeding our event goal.” After accounting for expenses—they were roughly 8 percent of the total take—Concert for a Cure was on track to net $110,000.       

* Photo provided by Mandy O'Neill 
** Photo credit: Brian Maschino

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Concert For A Cure

According to Leukemia Texas CEO Mandy O’Neill,

Mandy O’Neill, Dr. Maro O’Hanian and Erin Krah*

Over the past several years, Leukemia Texas has been able to fund every, eligible patient aid applicant. That was close to 500 applicants last year battling this devastating disease in Texas, a large number of these from the Dallas area. Their success is because of perseverance, limited expenses and generous donors who believe in their unique motto as ‘the only organization of its kind where funds raised in Texas, stay in Texas!’

Over the past five years, Leukemia Texas has increased their annual revenue more than 250%. As the demand for patient support increases, the need to generate revenue is strong. I’ve continued to keep the tradition of this 47-year-old organization, founded by the Minyard Family (Gretchen Minyard Williams and Liz Minyard Lokey continue to be active board members) by keeping expenses low and strengthening their signature events. The Beatleukemia Ball, Golf Classic and Concert for a Cure all generated record numbers this past year. They have also partnered with the MJ Event bringing in at least $250,000 new net dollars every year.

Concert For A Cure*

With their tremendous growth, and an estimated 3,000+ new leukemia diagnoses across the state, the addition of a third full time staff member is crucial. Leukemia Texas is currently searching for a seasoned Director of Program Development who is well versed in program management and major gift fundraising. Those interested in applying may reach out to Mandy at [email protected].

Their next event is the 5th annual Concert for a Cure to be held at the Rustic on Thursday September 28. Previous honorees include Kelcy Warren, Alicia Landry and Lynn McBee. Join Fox 4’s Jenny Anchondo, Real Housewife of Dallas Stephanie Hollman and former Dallas Cowboy and Hall of Famer Marco Rivera as they celebrate, eat delicious bites and raise critical funds to directly support leukemia patients in our own backyard.

* Graphic/photo provided by Leukemia Texas

WFAA’s Sonia Azad To Fill In At yCPD Field Day For KDFW’s Jen Myers

Well, darn it! KDFW‘s Jen Myers isn’t gonna be handling the emcee duties at Saturday’s yCPD Field Day. Ah, shoot! She’s always so much fun. But the red, curled meteorologist has a note from her doctor ’splaining why. Her planned cataract surgery was moved up a week. So, she’s definitely good for the excuse.

Jennifer Myers (File photo)

Jenny Anchondo (File photo)

Normally, Jen would have her besty morning pal/KDFW anchor Jenny Anchondo fill in for her. Not so. She has a doctor’s excuse, too. Jenny is due to deliver her first-ever munchkin any day now.

Booty Shaking (File photo)

Not to worry. The Community Partners of Dallas crew has gone across the channels and will have WFAA medical reporter Sonia Azad doing the play-by-play at The Rustic. Hope someone has warned her that the event is a combination of the Olympics and the pie fight in “The Great Race.”

Doesn’t matter. It’s more fun than having Six Flags all to your own and still helps the kids in need through CPD. Festivities start at 2 p.m. and, if you can’t pull a team together, why not just show up and watch the fun!

yCPD Played The Field With Sacks, Tug Of War And A Sparkler At The Rustic For Community Partners Of Dallas

With fundraising activities finally winding down for the 2015 spring season, Saturday, May 16th was the last really big push for having a reason for give. The BvB Dallas was holding Bridal Blitz to auction off couture bridal gowns over at 650. Project Transformation was “Off to the Farm” raising funds in the afternoon south of town.

And then there was Community Partners of Dallas’ young professionals group (yCPD) competing in all sorts of field day antics. One thing that hadn’t been planned was adorable emcee KDFW-FOX anchor/reporter Jenny Anchondo’s surprise. Just the night before, equally adorable Heath Oakes had popped the question and backed it up with a dazzling ring. Needless to say, Jenny like the ring was sparkling. Maybe Jenny should have checked out the BvB Dallas Bridal Blitz? As for the rest of the games and fundraising, here’s a field report:

The young professionals group of Community Partners of Dallas (yCPD) hosted their first annual fundraiser with an old fashioned “Field Day” at The Rustic.

From the left: (standing) Jack Gannon, Ben Johnson, Ashley Kisko J.W. Mulkin, Deuce Robertson, Joanna Robertson; (kneeling) Lilly Neubauer and Jenny Anchondo*

From the left: (standing) Jack Gannon, Ben Johnson, Ashley Kisko J.W. Mulkin, Deuce Robertson, Joanna Robertson; (kneeling) Lilly Neubauer and Jenny Anchondo*

Chaired by Lilly Neubauer, the event kicked off with DJ Colly T spinning tunes as twenty-four teams arrived “game ready” in matching team uniforms, costumes and workout gear. Prior to the event, captains submitted their team names with Tolleson Wealth Management winning “Most Clever Team Name” with name “Bad Assets.” But there were many contenders with names like “You’re Welcome for All the Awesome Roads and Bridges” with team members from the engineering firm, IEA; “Hostile Hoteliers” from Embassy Suites Dallas Park Center; “Boyz to Win,” the all-male team from ABC, BBD; “The Field Avengers,” led by yCPD board president Felipe Garza whose teammates all sported super hero costumes, and “Paralyzing Team Name Indecision” for yCPD board member Neill Fuqay’s team who just couldn’t decide.

Matt Leu, Scott Bronk, Colin Philips, Brian Hollabaugh, Elliott Wagner and Daniel Gatlin*

Matt Leu, Scott Bronk, Colin Philips, Brian Hollabaugh, Elliott Wagner and Daniel Gatlin*

Fox4-TV’s weekend anchor Jenny Anchondo got the day started with announcements and then an explanation of the day’s activities. The teams huddled together to start “talking strategy” for the qualifying events which were: egg race, sponge relay, booty shaker, limbo, noodle toss, beach ball hot potato, wheel barrow race, corn hole and a social media station, where all team members had to send out a selfie or team photo with the signature hashtag of the day – #ycpdfieldday.   With only the top 10 teams making it to the next round, the competition was tight in games like booty shaker (ping pong balls in a Kleenex box tied around someone’s waist and then “shaken” out by shaking your behind, and in most cases, whole body), egg race, sponge relay, and wheel barrow race, while other events proved more challenging. The wind was not anyone’s friend as teams tried throwing a swimming “noodle” into a trash can from 8 feet away which proved to be the most difficult activity of the day.

Potato sack race*

Potato sack race*

After working up a sweat, the second round teams competing in the potato sack race were announced. Team captains gathered their troops quickly to practice getting in and out of the potato sack before the whistle was blown to begin. The top five teams were swiftly decided as they hopped their way across the finish line in record time. Those not moving on – took time to grab a popsicle from Steel City Pops or a cold beverage from the bar – as they perused the booths of event sponsors Orangetheory Fitness, Flywheel Sports and City Surf Fitness.

From the left: (top) Chaeeley Barber and Missy Quintana; (second row) Chelsea Morehart and Kelly Hershman; (bottom row) Jolie Laurence, Cristin Caulfield and Mandy Mack*

From the left: (top) Chaeley Barber and Missy Quintana; (second row) Chelsea Morehart and Kelly Hershman; (bottom row) Jolie Laurence, Cristin Caulfield and Mandy Mack*

With only the three-legged race standing in their way of the championship round, top five finalists tied themselves together with bandannas for some quick practice runs. After the dust had settled, McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C.  (members Deuce Robertson, Joanna Robertson, Jack Gannon, J.W. Mulkin, Ben Johnson and Ashley Kisko) and Team Dent (members Kristen Holash, Sarah Andersen, Laila Sarvarian, Travis Dent, Brynn Dent and Austin Wilcox) were the last teams standing and on to the final round.

Tug of war*

Tug of war*

The crowd gathered around the field for the much-anticipated tug-of-war, but the McGuire, Craddock & Strother, P.C team was not to be denied and pulled the rope across the finish line in record time for the win. In addition to bragging rights as the inaugural Field Day Champions, members of the winning team each received a gold trophy, $50 gift card to The Container Store, COREhealth Wellness Massage, 5-pack Flywheel Indoor Cycling or Flybarre Classes at Flywheel Sports, unlimited month of classes at City Surf Fitness; and a two-week pass and swag bag courtesy of Orangetheory Fitness.

The event concluded with an After Party complete with cocktails and bites.  All participants received an event T-shirt and a goody bag, as well as a hero medal with a note attached that read: “No matter where you ranked today you are a #1 hero in the eyes of an abused and neglected child. Thanks for making a huge impact on a life!”

After all it is always all about the kids when CPD’s involved!

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee