Flick Blevins, 6; Makenna Rodolph, 9; Rylee Totman, 5; Bennett Towbin, 5; and Gabriel Triguis, 10, all of Frisco, are featured models and artists at The Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala, a NYC-themed “Broadway Nights and Runway Lights” event – the nonprofit’s 29th annual fundraiser for pediatric oncology research and treatment programs. The Gala features live and silent auctions, a children’s fashion show, dinner, drinks and dancing to musical entertainment by DJ Lucy Wrubel. It will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017, at 6 p.m. (champagne reception), 7:15 (dinner and program), at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway. A fashion show presented by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions will feature children who are undergoing treatment for cancer at Children's Health in Dallas. The children, “models” for the fashion show, are escorted down the runway by Honorary Event Chairmen Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, along with many other celebrities and sponsors. Gala event Chair Pamela Moayedi, will kick off the program with Aikman and Staubach, who will turn it over to CBS11 NewsAnchor Karen Borta, mistress of ceremonies.
Proceeds from the Gala, slated to raise more than $1 million, go to Children’s Cancer Fund to support pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children's Medical Center. Since 1982, Children’s Cancer Fund has donated almost $8 million to the cause. The Children’s Cancer Fund spring event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer, hosting over 1,000 guests from North Texas and across the nation.
Diagnosed with T-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of 3, Flick Blevins, 6, is a kindergartner at the Coram Deo Academy. He has a younger brother and a younger sister and loves to hang out and play chase with them. His hero is God, who “always helps me and who cured my blood.” When Blevins grows up, he wants to be a blood cancer doctor. He loves Star Wars movies and Pete the Cat books. He admits that Darth Vader is his favorite movie star, because “he wears a mask like I do sometimes.” He has never been in a fashion show before and is excited for everyone to see him. If Flick could go anywhere in the world, he would go to Disney World because “it’s the happiest place on earth!”
Makenna Rodolph, 9, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 7. She is a third grader at McSpedden Elementary. She is the eldest of three with a younger sister and a younger brother. She also has a chocolate lab named Barley. She enjoys reading, cooking, gymnastics, rock climbing, Girl Scouts, and playing with Legos. If she could go anywhere, she would go to Denmark to visit the Lego factory. Her heroes are “my doctors and nurses because I can count on them to help me get better.” They’ve inspired her to want to become a doctor or nurse when she grows up. She is most excited to help raise money to cure kids with cancer, and wants you to know “if you dream big, you can do anything!”
Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 4, Rylee Totman, now 5, is a kindergartner at Tadlock Elementary. She has one older sister and is happiest when she is with her family. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up like her hero and teacher Mrs. McGee. She enjoys playing video games with her dad and sister and likes to ride her scooter, color, and do gymnastics. She especially enjoys the music of Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Rachel Platten. She would love to go to England to visit her aunt and uncle, but for the moment, she’s excited to be in Dallas in the fashion show because she’s looking forward to making new friends and dressing up!
Diagnosed withPre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 2 ½, Bennett Towbin, 5, is in pre-K at Levine Academy. He has a younger sister and a dog. He loves sports, including soccer and baseball, and he also enjoys playing with his toys and playing games. He would really like to be a team mascot when he grows up. His mom and dad are his heroes because he loves them so much. He is excited to wear special clothes and be on stage for everyone, and he’s also excited about the Gala “because everyone there wants to make a difference in kids’ lives.”
Gabriel Triguis, 10, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 9. He is a fourth grader at Bledsoe Elementary and has an older sister and a dog named Charlie. Obsessed with football, he likes watching games on the weekends. He also enjoys playing football, soccer, and video games and wants to be a football player when he grows up. He is happiest when he’s playing soccer or football. Tom Brady is his hero because “he is awesome and could be one of the best quarterbacks ever.” If he could go anywhere, he would go to Foxborough, Massachusetts, because that’s where Tom Brady plays. However, he is most excited to meet Troy Aikman at the Gala!
Children’s Cancer Fund brings together local celebrities, dignitaries, philanthropists, sponsors, and media personalities to serve as runway escorts for these young patients modeling in the fashion show. Honorary Event Chairs Aikman and Staubach have been involved for many years: Aikman for 20 and Staubach since the event’s inception 29 years ago. Additional celebrity escorts include current Dallas Cowboys players, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Station #19 Dallas Fire Dept., Dallas SWAT, Julie Dobbs-Fox Sports Southwest Dallas Stars Commentator, Alisha Laventure-WFAA, Jane McGarry-WFAA, Scott Murray, Miss Texas Caroline Carothers, the Pink Heals Firefighters, and Amy Vanderoef.
In addition to DJ Lucy Wrubel, entertainment throughout the event will be provided by the Jordan Kahn Orchestra, Next Step Dance, Avery-Jai Andrews, and Jacoby Pruitt.
“When I was diagnosed with a tumor in 2009 at UT Southwestern, I was terrified about what would happen next. Thankfully my tumor was benign, but my fear was real,” said Gala Chair Pamela Moayedi. “My experience has made me so much more passionate about helping children in that kind of situation. I’m committed to supporting local research that saves lives, especially young kids.”
Individual tickets are $300 or $2,750 for a table of 10. Contact Children’s Cancer Fund at 972-664-1450 or visit www.ChildrensCancerFund.com/Gala for reservations and more information.
The finale of the show each year is a special time for all the children, both those currently battling cancer and young cancer survivors. As they join together on stage, they will be introduced by the evening’s special entertainment, DJ Lucy Wrubel.
“You have to see the look on these kids’ faces as they walk down the runway. It’s what inspires us in our work and in everything we do,” said Jennifer Arthur, CCF Executive Director of Development. “They are fighters and survivors every day, but on that night, they’re stars and they’re shining brightly for their families, for the audience, and for each other.”
Children’s Cancer Fund was founded 35 years ago by a coalition of parents whose children were receiving cancer therapy at Children’s Medical Center. The organizers have since been joined by community leaders, dedicated volunteers, and health professionals in their fundraising efforts. CCF is one of the nation’s leading fundraising groups in supporting local research toward treatment and prevention of childhood cancers. Among the programs supported by Children’s Cancer Fund are the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program at Children's Health and the Children's Cancer Fund Comprehensive Center for Research in Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, which is gaining a national reputation for its work in eradicating childhood cancer. In 2002, Children’s Cancer Fund initiated funding for a full-time Child Life Specialist at the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children’s Medical Center to assist the outpatient team. The primary goal of the Child Life Specialist is to make each of the 80-90 daily outpatients’ visits a more positive experience. This position is funded annually by CCF, helping to ease the emotional strain of ongoing treatments, some lasting several years.
Sponsors include: $100,000: Centurion American; $50,000: Texas de Brazil; $25,000: Jennifer Stroud Foundation; Marianne and Roger Staubach, Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center; $15,000: Emergency Physicians at Presbyterian Hospital; $10,000: Troy Aikman; Aimbridge Hospitality; Albertsons – Tom Thumb; American Airlines; Lisa and Clay Cooley; Headington Companies; Swift Transportation; $5,000: Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo, LLP; Fischer; The Kitchell/Leete Family; Kroger; The McCullough Foundation; Relief Institute-Greg Young; Fashion Sponsor: Dillard’s; Media Sponsors: CBS11/TXA21; Good Life Family Magazine; and My Sweet Charity. In-Kind Sponsors: ALBRITTON DAY; American Airlines; Belmont Icehouse; Elle Films; Gene and Jerry Jones Foundation; Hilton Anatole; Kendra Scott; Nomad Productions; Patty Foppen Photography; Picasso’s Pizza and Grill; RSC Show Productions; Salon Pompeo.
Join us! Watch this video from last year!