Mother Nature has been having a fit of a time trying to get the weather right for North Texans. First, she drenched the area with rain accompanied by lightning and thunder for weeks. Then on Wednesday, June 9, the old gal replaced the wet stuff with rising temperatures and humidity that made North Texas steam like Houston.
But even these muggy conditions didn’t stop the Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer 40th Celebration Gala kick-off party from taking place at Museum Tower. Some guests who had thought the event would be indoors were surprised when they were directed up the stairs leading to the Terrace Lounge and Great Lawn. And while the days of soaking rain had resulted in a beautiful lush landscape, it also created a challenge for the ladies in heels. As one woman was heard to say, “I’m sinking.”
But that was such a small matter with a healthy spread of food presented by Maggiano’s Little Italy NorthPark in the covered terrace and across the way for guests like Pat and Claude Prestidge, Barbara Bigham, Fran Wittenberg Cashen, Connie Yates with niece Sadie Gray, Jolie Humphrey, Barbara and Stan Levenson, Mary Black and Joni Krieg. A very accommodating bar was set up with barkeep Kirsten Owen serving His (Vodka and ginger blend) and Hers (Vodka and berry blend) signature cocktails courtesy of 3 Badge Enology and Greenbar Distillery next to the staging area.
While the men in suits made the best of the warmish situation, a tall young fella in a blue shirt sans jacket was talking with Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Founder Cindy Brinker Simmons and Reveal Party Co-Chairs Regina Bruce and Dr. Carla Russo. Even from afar it was obvious they were delighted with the topic in their conversation.
Mother-daughter Jackie Thornton and Jenice Dunayer were still in the celebration spirit after the past weekend of Jenice’s son’s/Jackie’s grandson’s wedding at The Joule, with dinners and parties preceding the nuptials. Now they were officially in kick-off mode to raise funds as the gala co-chairs.
After a delayed start, the program got underway with Regina and Carla being introduced by WOKC CEO Aashik Khakoo. Standing next to a covered sign on an easel, they revealed the details of the WOKC Anniversary Gala on Saturday, October 16, at Belo Mansion.
Then with a twinkle in their eye, they unveiled the board announcing that the presenting sponsors would be BDO USA LLP and CAPTRUST. Coincidentally, their husbands, BDO’s Joe Russo and CAPTRUST’s John Pickett, were on hand to accept congratulations.
But to the left of the unveiled board was another draped sign on an easel. Only this one was almost letting the cat out of the bag prematurely thanks to gusts of wind.
As Jackie and Jenice told about plans for the night including the Warrior Basket auction and the Warrior Tribute Walk, Cindy managed to keep the draping in place until the big moment when Aashik revealed that Jersey Mike’s would be the title sponsor.
It was then that the young man in the blue shirt was introduced. He was Jersey Mike’s District Manager Dalton Stewart, who had years ago come up with the idea of Giving Day for the area Jersey Mike’s benefiting WOKC. It had been so successful that Jersey Mike’s Founder/CEO Peter Cancro had all the stores do similar programs for their communities.
When Dalton told Peter about the anniversary gala, Peter didn’t hesitate. He not only signed up for the $50,000 title sponsorship, he doubled the contribution to $100,000 and accepted the invitation for him and his wife Tatiana Cancro to the fundraiser as honorary co-chairs.