It was back during the 2012 winter holidays that Ellen and Don Winspear’s lives changed dramatically. Up until then things had going pretty darn well for the couple. They were involved in all types of fundraising efforts — the Dallas Zoo, Dallas Opera, Dallas Film Society, etc. Their boys were safe and sound. In fact, they were in North Carolina for one of their son’s wedding. It was a great event. The morning after the wedding, Don wasn’t feeling very well. In fact he was feeling poorly. As the symptoms mounted, Ellen and Don decided the hospital was necessary. Was it a stroke? A heart attack? After many days of thorough tests, he was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis (TM) resulting in his being paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Their life was turned upside down. It meant rehab. It meant adjusting their household for a wheelchair and the needs of a person with physical challenges. It meant accepting the old adage that life isn’t always fair.
But that’s how TM plays. This rare neuroimmunologic disorder of the central nervous system can strike anyone, any age, any time without warning. Each year approximately 1,400 new cases are diagnosed. While not having a headcount like cancer, diabetes or other major diseases, this orphan disease needed a champion to spread the word, and that was the Winspears. Instead of being resigned to rehab and holding pity parties, they decided they were going to mount an effort to raise awareness and funds for research and treatments.
Sure, some might have held a seminar on the disease or a black tie hoop-la, but not Ellen and Don. They’re having a concert on Wednesday, July 9. No, not an opera at the Winspear. Instead, they’re headed to The Kessler for “An Evening of Friends and Music” with local Brice Beard and Nashville artists Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor.
As for an honorary chair, they’re having former Dallas Cowboy Tom Rafferty! Why Tom? Because he became a TM patient in April 2008.
With tickets ranging from $100 to $500, proceeds will go to the Conquer [TM] Project at UT Southwestern.
If you get a VIP table, you’ll be part of the Star Power VIP Party with champagne at your table.
You just know that your July calendar was looking a wee bit anemic, so this event is ideal. It’s the Wednesday after the Fourth of July, so you’ll be able to show off your fabulous tan in the cool of The Kessler and be part of the charge against TM.