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:
- Cher’s “Dressed To Kill” concert at AT&T Center
- SMU vs. California at Moody for the NIT semifinals
- The Celebration of non-profit organization supporting the Dallas homeless at Lisa Blue Baron’s estate
- PurpleStride at Faye Briggs’
- Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World preview reception at the Dallas Museum of Art
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Children