The battle line against leukemia and lymphoma moved north of downtown Dallas on Thursday, February 8. Instead of years past at the Anatole and the Meyerson, the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show took over a couple of sizable courts at NorthPark Center to benefit the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society of North Texas.
With the event’s theme — “Sculpting For A Cure” — the day appropriately started off for the VIP types in the South Court with the ever-in-motion Jonathan Borofsky‘s “Five Hammering Men” towering among the champagne-sipping crowd. It was a catch up for many after the holidays and the January hibernation. Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates reported that her mom, Polly Tadlock, was doing nicely despite a nasty fall just before Thanksgiving fall that landed her in the hospital. But Polly wasn’t going to let that “oops” change her weekly gathering of her Sunday group. She carried on despite the situation…. Attorney Gina Betts was admitting that she was going to duck out early. The reason? Son Jack Betts was receiving Presidential Service Award for the third year and she wasn’t about to miss that. The Betts are probably going to have build an additional room for Jack’s collection of trophies… Past Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold recipient Robyn Conlon was with her daughter-in-law Megan Conlon and Megan’s grandmother Claire Roberts. It was the death 19 years ago from leukemia by Megan’s mother, Linda Somerville, who was also Robyn longtime friend, that inspired the Conlons to sponsor the Memorial Hero Award… Emerging from Bulgari were Co-Chairs Roz “Lady Bulgari” Colombo and Nancy Gopez, who were all in the color du jour — red. Nancy was showing a touch of a limp admitting that she needed hip surgery. Is there a fundraiser for hips in need of help?
Then the all-too familiar chimes sounded calling the likes of Kristi Bare, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law Bela Cooley, Kim Hext and Luncheon Advisory Chair Heather Perttula Randall to the Center Park, where a glorious tent had been erected next to Leo Villareal‘s “Buckyball.” To ward off any possible chill that had been in North Texas the day before, heaters were in place to keep the guests warm. NorthPark General Manager Billy Hines was pleased with this initial undertaking of tent with two-thirds of the side panels being clear to allow the sunshine to showcase the festivities. But always the perfectionist, he added, “We’re still considering how it could be even better.”
In between the reception and the luncheon, Billy recalled his childhood when his dad worked for Stanley Marcus at Neiman Marcus Downtown. In those days, staff on the upper floors would send packages to the ground floor via chute. Sometimes the items would get stuck. That’s when little Billy was drafted. They would tie a rope around the tyke, drop him down the chute to send the package on its way and haul him back.
Guests like Gigi Potter Salley, Rainey Fogiel, Nisha McColly, Paula Acosta, Andrea Nayfa, Diana Hamilton, Kristen Hinton, Machelle Davenport, Kris Sorokwasz, Cara French, sisters-in-law Amy Hegi and Libby Hegi, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, DeeDee Lee, Piper Wyatt, Tracy Lange, Katy Bock, Melissa Sherrill, Greg Nieberding, Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel discovered the interior of the tent was a seas of white tableclothed tables surrounded by gold and white padded chairs and two mega screens on either side of the runway that extended halfway down the tent. The only thing missing were chandeliers.
Luckily, the program didn’t start right away allowing guests to continue the catch-up game. Tiffany Divis and Rhonda Marcus revealed that they would be co-chairing The Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr. Founders Award Luncheon with Kara Goss on Monday, March 19. This year’s fundraiser at the Crescent Court will honor Ellen and Don Winspear… Salvation Army Fashion Show Luncheon Lisa Singleton, who had been stalking closets for gently experienced clothes, said it would be returning to the Meyerson on Wednesday, May 9 … On both sides of the runway the front rowing it were presenting sponsors. To right were the Presenting Co-Sponsor NorthPark’s crew including Honorary Chair Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Kristen Gibbins and Catherine Flagg to mention a few. Across the was were Presenting Co-Sponsors Nancy Rogers‘ and Melody Rogers‘ posse including Michael Flores, Moll Anderson, Brooke Davenport, Suzanne Droese, Sue Gragg, Ruth Hodge, Kathleen Hutchinson, Kris Marcus, Karla McKinley, Nini Nguyen, Jessica Nowitzki, Kim Whitman, Sharon Young, Leisa Street, Tanya Foster, Olivia Kearney, Lisa Ogle and Cindy Turner.
Once the program got underway, Emcee Clarice Tinsley welcomed the group and introduced The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society Board Chair Don Armstrong and Society Executive Director Dr. Patricia Thomson, who told of the advances made in research and treatment of the disease.
The awards were then presented including the Memorial Hero to the family (Kim Alexander with sons Eli Alexander and Evan Alexander) of the late Elijah Alexander, the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold to Mona Carlton Stogner and Grey Stogner and the Spirit of Tom Landry Character Award to seven-year-old Kaitlyn Johnson, who stole the show.
With Kaitlyn on stage, the call for money was made with some raising hands being raised and others cringing at the appearance of being chintzy. No need for guilt. They were generous enough to support the effort by just buying a ticket to the event.
Throughout the presentation, videos were shown about the recipients and the work of the Society. Alas, the clear panels proved to be a double-edged sword. One one hand they let the sun shine in; on the other the sunshine resulted in dimmed videos. Still the message got through.
It was then time for the fashion show featuring NorthPark’s Canali, CH Carolina Herrera, Elie Tahari, Neiman Marcus, Rebecca Taylor and Roberto Cavalli. Needless to say, the munchkins in Peek Kids stole the show with cellphones salutes arising throughout.
But one of the day’s showstoppers was not on the runway. Rather it was behind the scenes and in the production stand. It seems that the event producer Jan Strimple had discovered a lump in her breast in December. Typical of Jan, she tackled the cancer like a tiger. Realizing that her signature flame hair would probably be sacrificed in the treatments, she took charge baring her pate. Leave it to Jan to make the hairless-head look gorgeous complete with fabulous earrings.
As Jan explained, “Women never see their heads, so we don’t think about the shape of them. Hair covers a myriad of odd shaped heads no doubt.. along with some of life’s adolescent mishaps. Shaving it revealed a couple of obvious little scars from childhood. Dan [Jan’s husband] and I laughed about that. It’s empowering and very freeing. And think of the time you get back each day not having to fiddle with hair!”
Following the show, it was time for lunch that included roasted butternut squash soup made with toasted hazelnut, safe and creme fraiche, assorted fresh baked Wolfgang Puck breads and tolls with sweet cream butter followed by an entree of quiche a la raclette with winter greens and apple salad with San Daniele Prosciutto and acai berry vinaigrette. While no food critics were at the tables to judge, some guests decided to the meal wasn’t their cup of tea and adjourned for lunch at a restaurant, shopping and/or sipping more of the bubbly at Bulgari, Roberto Cavalli, Rebecca Taylor, Canali, Elie Tahari or CH Carolina Herrera.
For more photos of the day, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.