(Featured photo: Scott Murray, emcee; Dr. Carla Russo, luncheon chair; Grammy Hall of Famer, Sir Earl Toon, Kool and the Gang, featured performer; Regina Bruce, luncheon chair; John Pickett .)*
Celebrating its 23rd Anniversary, KidneyTexas, Inc.’s The Runway Report On Wings of Hope and Transformation Luncheon and Fashion Show was the first to trip the light fantastic, featuring a surprise live performance by Grammy Hall of Famer, Sir Earl Toon, Kool and The Gang, who rocked as he sang three of their most well-known tunes, bringing everyone out on the dance floor in “Celebration” of an absolutely fun and fashionable day.
Chaired by Regina Bruce and Dr. Carla Russo, with honorary chairs Jeanne and George Lewis, this wonderful event was a most entertaining one, featuring a rousing live auction, a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind items, awards and much more, bringing friends and family together with business and community leaders in support of KidneyTexas, Inc.’s mission in the fight against kidney disease.
The Meyerson Symphony Center was the perfect setting with luncheon tables arranged to highlight the formal floor level fashion presentation featuring fashions from longtime supporter TOOTSIES, newcomers Betty Reiter, Nardos Design, Don Morphy and exquisite jewelry by J. Pacetti Precious Jewels, produced by Jan Strimple Productions. Models’ Make-Up sponsor was Susan Posnick Cosmetics. Models’ Hair sponsor was Johnny J. Designs. The morning began with a champagne reception while guests bid in the silent auction and had an opportunity to have their photos taken in front of the balloon-festooned step-and-repeat which featured the logo, a brilliant and multi-colored butterfly with the wings connected by a green ribbon, symbolizing the theme and were serenaded by a trio of members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Welcoming the crowd, Carla thanked the generous underwriters and dedicated volunteers who have worked to make this event a tremendous success. Scott Murray, emcee, thanked everyone there and introduced Donna Arp Weitzman, president of KidneyTexas, Inc. She thanked the chairs and volunteers and brought Therese Rourk, recipient of the Community Award, to the podium saying that she had known Therese’s mom, the late Mary Lee Cox, for years and was proud of how Therese is carrying on the family tradition of dedication to KidneyTexas, Inc., having been so involved herself for many years.
Emilynn Wilson thanked the medical community for their ongoing and longtime support of KidneyTexas, Inc., and gave a brief background about Sandy Secor, recipient of the Sue Goodnight Service Award, saying how Sandy was president for KidneyTexas, Inc. for two years, during which she successfully led the organization through COVID-19 by co-creating one of Dallas’ first virtual streaming major fundraising events with then chair, Sharon Ballew.
Scott talked about the Everson Walls Legacy Award, saying that years ago, Everson had donated a kidney to his buddy and former Dallas Cowboys football teammate, Ron Springs, which gave him many more years of life. Receiving the award this year was Goran B. Klintmalm, MD. PhD. Dr. Klintmalm said that what Everson did was courageous, and like so many kidney donors, saves lives. Carla brought up a poster-sized photo of Dr. Klintmalm with Everson Walls, which was taken in advance of the luncheon, where the two had a chance to chat and become acquainted.
Saying it takes a village to bring all of this to life, Carla thanked the honorary chairs Jeanne and George Lewis for their generosity and continued support.
Thanking the fashion show sponsors, Scott reminded everyone about the silent auction and conducted a lively and spirited live auction, which included a dinner with members of the Dallas Cowboys football team, a dinner with Chef Kent Rathbun that sold twice, a trip to an island which was formerly owned by Marlon Brando and more.
The event closed out with Sir Earl Toon singing hit songs from his days with Kool and the Gang, while everyone joined in on the dance floor.
KidneyTexas, Inc. has supported its beneficiaries through the generosity of all donors, sponsors and underwriters these past 23 years to raise over $4.3 million for local efforts to improve the ability to diagnose and manage kidney disease. This year’s beneficiaries are Baylor Scott & White Foundation, Camp Reynal, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Southwest Transplant Alliance, and Texas Health Resources Foundation.
Sponsors included Butterfly of Hope Presenting Sponsor: Lone Star Monarchs. Monarch Butterfly of Strength: Sam and Helga Feldman Foundation, Jeanne and George Lewis. Chrysalis Butterfly of Courage: Baylor Scott and White Health. Queen Butterfly of Inspiration: Arnold and Joe Pacetti, Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman and more. Restricted beneficiary donations were made by Sam and Helga Feldman Foundation, McKamy and Joel Looney, CAPTRUST Community Foundation, proceeds from “A Night of Hope Dinner at Salum,” and BDO USA, LLC. Swag Bag sponsors included Betty Reiter, Christian Iles Hair Care, Don Morphy, Nardos Design and TOOTSIES. Major in-kind sponsors included BDO USA, LLC, CAPTRUST, Kristi Eakin Design and UPS Store on Lemmon Avenue. Media sponsors were PaperCity, People Newspapers and My Sweet Charity.
Join in the fight against kidney disease today! All monies raised by KidneyTexas, Inc. benefit local organizations and remain in our North Texas area. Membership in KidneyTexas, Inc. available through the website at at http://www.kidneytexas.org, contact 214-891-0896 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission Statement: The purpose of KidneyTexas, Inc. is to provide funding to improve the methods of treatment, care and prevention of kidney disease and other comorbidity factors, and to develop more advanced provisions for the cure of persons suffering from such diseases.
Statistics: Debilitating kidney diseases impact approximately 20 million people in the United States today. Groups at high risk include African Americans, Hispanics, senior citizens and people with diabetes. In Texas, there are over 30,000 people on dialysis and 4,000 on a transplant list. The number of patients on dialysis is anticipated to double this decade.
History: Since 1999, the dedicated volunteers of KidneyTexas, Inc. have worked in tandem with our generous underwriters to raise over $4.3 million for local efforts to improve the ability to diagnose and manage kidney disease.
Each fall KidneyTexas, Inc. hosts its Luncheon & Fashion Show in an effort to raise money for designated beneficiaries and awareness for a disease that affects millions of people each year. The success of this event depends heavily upon the contributions and dedication of our Dallas business and community leaders. Your support is crucial to the success of our mission.
* Photos by Danny Campbell
** Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio
*** Photos by Thomas Garza