Along with area businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit local charitable organizations particularly hard. Take the venerable charity, Sky High: For 12 years, the Houston foundation, founded by Louisiana native and former beauty queen, Brittany Hebert Franklin, has hosted fundraising events to benefit myriad pediatric cancer programs. Last year, Sky High pledged some $40 million to fund vital projects and important resources at various hospitals.
Those funds were a boon to vital pediatric cancer research projects and patient amenities at Texas Children's Cancer Center, St. Jude Children's Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House, Memphis.
This year, with their largest fundraising events canceled, Sky High reports that it stands to lose nearly $3 million. The group, however, is pivoting and hopes to recover some of those funds with its Stay Home Gala, which will be held Thursday, April 30, starting at 7 pm.
“At Sky High For Kids, our mission is not cancelled,” Franklin tells CultureMap. “With nearly 400,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year globally, it's important for us to embrace this challenge and support our vision to end childhood cancer. With our events cancelled across the state, our Stay Home Gala brings our communities together to raise the funds necessary to support our $40 million in pledges to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Center.”
The Stay Home Gala features appearances from Arie and Lauren Luyendyk from The Bachelor; John Rich from Big & Rich; Miss Texas, Taylor Kessler; and other guests. Registration is free and grants guests the ability to bid on Sky High's silent auction items and packages.
Corporate sponsor options are also available at registration and run between $100 - $5000. Sky High’s goal is to raise $150,000 during the 90-minute program. Here is a breakdown of how the projected gala funds will be distributed to various projects.
- Funding a floor in the Advanced Research Center (ARC) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
- Supporting the first and only pediatric cancer immunotherapy center at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center in Houston, TX.
- Building three training facilities in sub-Saharan Africa with Texas Children’s Hospital’s Global HOPE Program to increase capacity of medical care for the 100,000 children battling cancer and blood disorders in that region.
- Filling weekly wish list items needed for 20 families, 52 weeks per year at Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center by supporting B.I.G LOVE Cancer Care.