Texas-born singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett was the big attraction at The Blue Bird Circle 2017 Gala, “An Affair to Remember,” treating 430 guests dressed in black tie and Texas tuxedos to a 90-minute set at River Oaks Country Club.
But the evening boasted yet another special appearance. Colleen O'Brien, wife of Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien, gave a stirring speech about the couple's 14-year-old son, Jack O'Brien, who receives treatment at The Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Pediatric Neurology at Texas Children’s Hospital, which was the evening's beneficiary.
“When (Jack) was 13-months old, we had an MRI done and it revealed.... that he had a brain malformation known as lissencephaly,” Colleen O'Brien told the audience. “At the time of his diagnosis, we were told that Jack had a life expectancy of two to three years, and would never show any significant development past a six-to-10-month-old level.”
A rare neurological disorder, lissencephaly, causes seizures, eyesight problems and cognitive development issues.
The O'Brien’s turned to the Texas Children’s Neurology Department, which is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric neurological problems, for assistance when they moved to Houston in 2014.
“We’ve been truly fortunate because Jack has been to some of the premier children’s hospitals in the country. He was diagnosed at Johns Hopkins, and we’ve been at Duke and Boston Children’s. But I can honestly say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our best experience with medical care for Jack has been right here at Texas Children’s, specifically at The Blue Bird Clinic for Pediatric Neurology.
“We’ve met tremendous doctors like Dr. (Gary) Clark, as well as the nurses and staff.... who provide the ultimate in care, support and hope for kids like Jack,” O'Brien added.
Proceeds totaled $400,000 for the hospital from the sold-out gala chaired by Laura Kent and Terry Agris, along with members of The Blue Bird Circle, an organization of women volunteers that supports The Blue Bird Circle Clinical Research Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as The Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Pediatric Neurology, The Blue Bird Circle Developmental Neurogenetics Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine, and The Blue Bird Circle Rett Center.
Attending the benefit were Dr. Gary Clark and his wife Maureen, Gwen Wilkinson, Janice and Bob McNair, Hannah and Cal McNair, Soraya and Scott McClelland, Mark Wallace, Barbara and Corby Robertson, Jan Rhodes, Bob Rasmus, Jane and Jim Brann, and Pam and Bill Sengelmann.