As guests arrived for KidneyTexas Inc.‘s Runway Report at the Meyerson on Tuesday, September 21, a Meyerson staffer greeted guests advising them that masks would be required. Guests accommodated the request only to have the vast majority put them back in their purses within feet of the entry.
As guests played the game of catch-up before the program got underway, event producer Jan Strimple admitted that, thanks to the pandemic, she and husband Dan had spent a lot of time at their farm in Ohio, where golf-loving Dan Strimple had arranged to have nine holes placed on the grounds.
Had Jan gone rural? No, she suggested the feel was more akin to Zsa-Zsa goes to Green Acres.
And the arrangement had worked out beautifully, with Jan commuting between the farm and their North Texas household for her business of making fashion fashionable.
Speaking of fashion, Tootsie’s Sales Manager Dustin Holcomb reported that following the store’s suffering major damage from the Winter Storm Uri, it was decided to do far more than a patch job. They have taken the work down to the building’s early days, when Neiman Marcus was located there. He explained that such an undertaking was why they were still in their temporary digs next door to Bachendorf’s.
But soon the program got underway, with guests like President-Elect Donna Arp Weitzman, Diane Scovell, Carol Huckin, Carol Seay, Kim Hext, Marena Gault, Kim Noltemy, Venise Stuart, Regina Bruce, Carla Russo, Linda Ivy, Lauryn Gale White and Southwest Alliance Transplant’s Kirsten Gappelberg and Katie Sauce taking their places at tables socially distanced throughout the lobby. KidneyTexas President Rose Gault had Luncheon Chair Courtney Nall address the group thanking fashion sponsor Tootsie’s and her committee.
Rose then introduced Honorary Co-Chair Natalie Taylor, who recognized the late philanthropist/Presenting Sponsor Helga Feldman, whose $500,000 donation to the organization had been made honoring Natalie and her husband David Taylor.
Rose returned to the podium and reported that more people die from kidney disease than from breast cancer or prostate cancer.
She emphasized the importance of the role that transplants play in the lives of kidney disease patients by sharing the story of Katie and John Palmer, who had been out for a stroll in their neighborhood one morning last year. A pickup struck them, killing Katie. It was then that John learned that Katie had signed up to be an organ donor. In the past, organ donations were screened for cancer and HIV, but now with the pandemic they were also screened for COVID-19. Adding to the challenge of Katie’s donation was the fact that such transplants could only be done in hospitals that had no COVID cases. Luckily, thanks to Southwest Transplant Alliance’s partnership with First Baptist Medical Center in Northeast Dallas, Katie’s wish to help others was carried out. As John recalled, “Our worst day was someone else’s best day.”
It was then time to recognize the honorees, starting with 2020 awardees Lorraine Meenan and Mary Miller.
In accepting her Sue Goodnight Award, Barbara Bigham recalled how it was Sue who had had Barbara comfort a youngster going through dialysis. At first Barbara wasn’t keen about the assignment, but in talking with the child and observing the process, she realized she was witnessing the child’s entire system of blood being cleansed and restored.
Leaving the child, it was then that Barbara realized that the palms of her own hands were bloody from digging her nails into her hands over the experience.
Rose then presented the Lifetime Community Award to 93-year-old Ramona Jones, who had had firsthand knowledge of kidney disease when her own son was diagnosed with nephritis. Thanks to funds, research and treatments resulted in his full recovery. In appreciation of the successful undertaking, Ramona became a charter member of the Kidney Foundation of Texas, in addition to serving on the KidneyTexas Inc. board and advisory board since its inception. In the audience applauding Ramona’s acceptance were her daughters Julie Jones Oles and Anne Helbing and daughter-in-law Shannon Jones.
It was then time for the fashion show to get underway without a pause. A non-stop parade of models followed a path among the tables, with the finale taking place with all models on the main stairway leading into the Center’s hall.
For more looks of the fashions and ladies, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.