Friday evening was a very special one for Cindy Brinker Simmons at the 30th anniversary of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer at the Adolphus. Having founded the organization to help children and their families battling cancer, Cindy’s work both professionally and personally have been amazing and inspiring.
To mark the occasion, Event Chair Mary Poss created an evening for the 300 guests that was personal and reflected the core of what WOKC has come to mean to so many.
One of the highlights was the presentation by Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (pictured left with, from the left, Cindy Brinker Simmons and City Councilman Ron Natinsky) to Cindy of a proclamation designating Friday, November 5, 2010 as “Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Day in Dallas.”
To commemorate the 30th anniversary, the first Norman Brinker Humanitarian Award was presented to Pete and Pat Schenkel “for their extensive community support and philanthropic service to the Dallas community.” It was especially touching that Cindy and her stepmother Toni Brinker presented the award to the Schenkels.
Then it was time to present the “Little Mo” awards, that were named in honor of Cindy’s mother, Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly Brinker, who died of cancer at the age of 34. Given to community leaders who represent Little Mo’s spirit of hard work, humility, compassion and excellence, the awards were given to the following:
- Cristy Ecton of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas — Education & Awareness Award
- Dr. Meaghan Granger of Cook Children’s Medical Center of Fort Worth — Medical & Health Achievement Award
- Jersey Mike’s Subs — Philanthropy Award and
- Lori Freeland — Volunteerism Award.
The heartbreaking moment in the evening occurred when Honorary Chair Annette Leslie (pictured left with husband Craig Leslie) shared the story of her 17-year old son, Carson, who died earlier this year from medulloblastoma. She told of Carson’s “courageous fight with cancer the impact WOKC had on their family and the inspiration his legacy is providing to other teens with cancer.” Following her very personal story, Carson’s book Carry Me was given to the guests.
To help other families like the Leslies, more than $200,000 was raised thanks to the live auction and event underwriters like
- Celebrating Success ($20,000) — Margot and Ross Perot
- Changing Lives ($10,000) — Kenny Can Foundation and Mary and Mike Poss/Living Green Designs
- Researching a Cure ($5,000) — Brinker International, Cindy Brinker Simmons and family and Rosemary Haggar Vaughan Family Foundation
- Sharing the Vision ($2,500) — Ann Cain, Dean Foods Company, Inwood Village Pediatrics, Paula and Bob Strasser, Safeway, Inc./Tom Thumb, Toni and Norman Brinker Fund, UT Southwestern Medical Center/Southwestern Medical Foundation and Wells Fargo
- Presenting Sponsor – American Airlines
- VIP Cocktail Reception Sponsor – Jersey Mike’s
- Media Sponsor – Modern Luxury
“We are overwhelmed at the generosity and support of the sponsors and guests for tonight’s event and we thank each one of you for your contribution to our cause,” said WOKC CEO Evelyn Costolo (pictured left with Mary Poss). “Fundraising from tonight’s event far surpassed our goal and raised over $200,000! The majority of these funds will be used to fund Medulloblastoma research at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and Plano and Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of brain tumor found in children and accounts for 15-20% of pediatric brain tumors. Each dollar contributed tonight will allow us to continue our fight against childhood cancer, until the day when all children are living cancer free.”
Cindy, your folks would be very proud of you.