"This is my last swan song," Franelle Rogers told the gathering of 450 in the River Oaks Country Club Ballroom. Indeed, after six years at the helm of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society "On the Move" luncheon, this dedicated lady really is hanging up her hat.
In her unprecedented tenure as luncheon chair, Rogers has overseen fundraising that topped $750,000. With this last effort, Rogers wanted to break all records. And she did. The largest turnout for the event meant record dollars or MS research — more than $200,000.
Rogers' efforts were awarded by the National MS Society with the surprise presentation to her of a gold pin, indicating her induction into the organization's Fundraising Hall of Fame at the Gold Level. Hers was just the first of the honors with additional praise going to Judi Johnson as Person on the Move and Saks Fifth Avenue, represented by GM Bobby Dees, as Company on the Move.
The program included a testimonial by MS patient Rita Joubran followed by a presentation from her children and their cousins with special MS fighting words — We're gonna beat MS — sung to Katy Perry's "Roar." See a video of the kids singing here.
Emcee Deborah Duncan led a panel discussion with experts from the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa on MS good health and nutrition plans for MS patients while Dr. George Hutton talked about the latest MS research.
The sellout crowd included honorary chair Sallie Morian, Bobbie Nau, Carol Sawyer, Rose Cullen, Katie Brass, Joelle Rogers, Debbie Kanaly, JoAnn Petersen, Glenda Nicholson, Natalie Nicholson-Clark, Jack Johnson and Joy and Don McCormack.