Westyn Bates, 7, of Waxahachie, is a featured model and artist 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 Ewing Sarcoma at the age of 3, Westyn Bates is a homeschooled first grader and the youngest of 12 with four sisters and seven brothers. He also has a dog, two chickens, and two turtles named Flash and Dash. He is happiest when he is snuggling with his mom or playing with his big brother Braiden.
“Braiden is my hero because he’s nice to me, plays with me, and watches over me,” said Westyn Bates.
Bates wants to be a hockey player or a restaurant owner when he grows up. He is very active, and enjoys ice skating, riding his bike, and hiking. His favorite movie stars are Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars and Timmy from Jurassic Park. He also really likes Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters and movies and lists the Charlie Brown theme as his favorite song. If he could go anywhere in the world, he would go to Italy to see where pizza was invented!
“I am super excited about the Gala because I know it helps other kids at the hospital,” added Bates.
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!