When the Celebrating Women Luncheon returns to an in-person format on Friday, October 21, at the Hilton Anatole, it will also be a homecoming of sorts for the person on stage chatting with featured guest/award-winning actress Patricia Arquette.
While she wasn’t born in Dallas, Rene Syler not only was a familiar face as an anchor at WFAA (1992 to 1997) and KTVT (1997 to 2002), but she also met her future husband Buff Parham here.
Due to her talent and her personality, it was no surprise that she was scooped up for “The Early Show on CBS” in 2002, becoming the first Black woman to co-anchor a network morning show. It was there she interviewed former First Lady Laura Bush, former President Jimmy Carter, Prince, Senator John McCain, Antonio Banderas, Denzel Washington, Beyonce, Will Smith and many others.
It was also during this time that she underwent suspicious screenings for breast cancer showing an unusual mass. Luckily the biopsies showed it to simply be benign calcium deposits. Still it was too close for comfort.
As she recently told syndicated daytime talk show host Tamron Hall, “My mother and father were both breast cancer survivors and I was at increased risk for the disease.”
To use her national platform to create greater awareness of the disease, she created an award-winning, three-part series on cancer awareness that aired in 2003.
In 2006 her beyond-perfect life took a roller-coaster ride. In addition to being fired by CBS in December 2006, she had a preventive double mastectomy the following month and followed it up by writing a book, “Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting.”
Fast-forward to 2022: This past January, 59-year-old Rene took another step in living a healthier life. She revealed on the Karen Hunter Show in October 2021 she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and once again went proactive in being an “active participant in my own health instead of being pushed along on the river of life.” One of those changes was giving up alcohol. While she “didn’t hit rock bottom or have any DUIs,” she just didn’t feel comfortable with the direction she was going: “My skin was dull, my hair was… everything wasn’t working.” The results? “I love it. I feel great.”
Rene will bring that great feeling to the stage when she and Patricia talk about their personal history with the disease to raise funds for Baylor Scott and White Dallas Foundation’s fundraising for breast cancer research and treatment. In its 22-year history, the luncheon has provided more than $37 million to help those faced with the disease.
* Photo provided by Baylor Scott and White Dallas Foundation