DALLAS — Slated to raise more than $1 million, the 29th Annual Children’s Cancer Fund Gala features cancer patients, survivors, celebrities and sponsors in a fashion show as well as dinner, dancing, and live entertainment by DJ Lucy Wrubel.
The NYC-themed “Broadway Nights and Runway Lights” event will also allow Westyn Bates, a seven-year-old and Waxahachie cancer survivor, to be featured as a runway model and artist.
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, or “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.
Staubach has been involved with the gala since its inaugural year, while Aikman has served in some capacity for each of the last 20 years. 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.
Gala event chair Pamela Moayedi, will kick off the program with Aikman and Staubach, who will turn it over to CBS11 News Anchor Karen Borta, mistress of ceremonies.
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 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 three, 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 Bates of his sibling.
Bates also said he 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 said he 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.
“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.”
The gala will be held Friday, April 21 at 6 p.m. and begins with a champagne reception followed by a dinner and program at 7:15 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, located at 2201 N. Stemmons Freeway.
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.”