The Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala, themed “An Evening in Oz,” the nonprofit’s 28th annual fundraiser held on April 22, raised over $820,000 for pediatric oncology research and treatment programs, surpassing its $750,000 fundraising goal. The spring event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer.
|Terrance Williams, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Byron Jones, Jason Garrett, Morris Claiborne|
“We are absolutely thrilled with the success of this year’s event,” said Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley. “For 27 years, this event has been a luncheon, so it is exciting for a new evening event to succeed. We are very grateful to the hard work of everyone involved and the many donors, sponsors, and attendees whose generosity plays a critical role in our efforts to stop this number one disease-related killer of children in the U.S., which takes over 250 lives worldwide every day.”
|Brady Pampillonia and Texas Tech Coach Kliff Kingsbury|
Over 900 guests, greeted at the entrance of the Hilton Anatole by the characters of the Wizard of Oz, followed the yellow brick road to a night filled with emotion as over 60 pediatric cancer patients and survivors walked the runway with celebrities and sponsors in their new clothing, donated by Dillard’s. The audience celebrated the children’s successes in their courageous battles with cancer as they reveled in an evening of fun, away from hospitals and treatments.
|Maxwell Matlock with Dallas SWAT|
Event Chairmen Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, along with many other celebrities and sponsors, including Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett; Cowboys players Brandon Carr, Byron Jones, Morris Claiborne, and Terrance Williams; Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Ashley and Rachel; Cowboys Mascot Rowdy; child actor Sunny Malouf; media personalities Jane McGarry and Amy Vanderoef; the Pink Heals Firefighters; Miss Texas America 2015 Shannon Sanderford; The Bachelor’s Jake Pavelka; Dallas Wings WNBA Player Brianna Kiesel; Texas Tech Head Football Coach Kliff Kingsbury; Olympic Medalist Mitch Gaylord; Jocelyn White; Dallas SWAT members; and more.
|Miss Texas America 2015 Shannon Sanderford with Jodan McDowell|
Gala Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley kicked off the program with Aikman, who has been involved for 19 years, and Staubach, who has been involved for all 28 years.
|Troy Aikman, Karen McClard, Giora Barker, Brittney Bannon, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach|
The longtime event chairmen turned it over to KDFW FOX 4 News Anchor Clarice Tinsley, and Scott Murray, Mistress and Master of Ceremonies who introduced the young models and their escorts, sharing a little about each child.
|Christian Arroyo with Byron Jones|
Following dinner, the fashion show, and auctions, guests hit the dance floor to the sounds of the appropriately themed Emerald City Band.
|Sidney Carr joins dad Brandon Carr to escort Trip Rowley|
This year, raffle tickets were sold for a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4 donated by the Clay Cooley Automotive Group and tricked out by NTX Auto Masters, Kit Courrege, and Epic 4x4 Offroad.
|Troy Aikman escorts Hayden Ritchie down the runway|
Proceeds from the Gala 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 more than $7 million to the childhood cancer cause.
|DCC Ashley, Julissa Garcia, DCC Rachel|
Children’s Cancer Fund was founded 33 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.
|Myles Allison with Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett|
In addition to raising awareness and funds for children’s cancer research, this event serves as a positive social-psychological experience for children undergoing cancer treatment,” added Giora Barker, Gala Co-Chair. “As the mother of a cancer survivor, I understand the importance of this type of experience for the children. Each year, this event brings children living with cancer together for an unforgettable, embracing, and heartwarming experience.”