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.
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.
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.
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.
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.