Tears of joys flowed at the heartfelt “Celebration of Champions” luncheon and fashion show, as 16 Texas Children's pediatric cancer survivors walked, danced, and strutted down the catwalk at River Oaks Country Club.
The kids stole the spotlight — and the hearts of everyone in the audience — and had a blast strolling the runway in the latest fashions provided by Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s, alongside the 2018 Community Champions. The group is a collective of notable Houstonians who work to help children battling cancer, and make the community a better place.
This year’s designees included Texas Children's Cancer Center director, Dr. David Poplack; Lisa McCoy; Linda and Mark Evans; Winell and Doug Herron; Kristy and Chris Bradshaw; Christie and Billy McCartney; Kathi and Bill Rovere; Tena and Tyson Faust; Hannah and Cal McNair; Penny and John Butler; Mary and John Eads; Diane and John Riley; Courtney and Christopher Sarofim.
Doing double-duty as both honorary chairs and Community Champions were Olympic gymnastics superstar Mary Lou Retton, and Baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, who struck a pose with his wife, Rachel Bagwell.
“For 25 years I’ve done children’s hospital charities, helping raise funds. It’s nice to be doing it at home in Houston,” long-time Bayou City resident Retton told CultureMap.
Bagwell, the former Astros first baseman and Most Valuable Player, has been involved since the inaugural Celebration of Champions event — which he co-chaired with fellow Baseball Hall of Fame member, Craig Biggio.
“It’s important to continue to bring awareness. And to see these kids, who have been through so much including chemotherapy, remain so positive — they’re just amazing. For me, it’s an easy choice coming here,” said Bagwell.
Chaired by Sidney Faust, Judi McGee, Elsie Eckert, and Scott Basinger, the event has raised more than $1.5 million since its inception for the Long Term Survivor Program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, which monitors patients for delayed side effects and complications caused by previous cancer therapies.
Cheering the kids on were Fox 26 anchor Melissa Wilson, who served as event emcee, Maria Lowery; Tama Lundquist; Marge Lundquist; Sonia Soto; Hallie Vanderhider; JoAnn Peterson; Susan Boggio; Suzanne Stiles; Lara Bell; Flo Crady; Emily Crosswell; Bo Butler; Scott Butler; Bethany Hibbetts; Caroline Walter; Joanna and Brad Marks; Lisa and Mike O’Leary; Carmen and Butch Mach; and Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, medical director of the Long Term Survivor Program.