There's no shortage of fashion shows this time of year, but only one in recent memory reduced its audience to tears: The 12th annual Champions Luncheon and Fashion Show left more than a few of the 350-plus guests at River Oaks Country Club dabbing their eyes on October 11.
The show pairs pediatric cancer survivors from Texas Children's Cancer Center—"patient champions"—with "community champions," a group of notable and philanthropic Houstonians that this year included Gwen and Ed Emmett, Carolyn Faulk and Pat Studdert, Gayla and Dr. Donald Gardner, Maha and Omar Khan, Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, Dr. Will Parsons, Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, Amy and Rob Pierce, Hallie Vanderhider, Vicki West and Ralph Burch, and Beth Wolff.
Together, outfitted in the latest looks by Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard's, the champions take their turns on the runway after the kids have spent the morning getting the full model treatment, including hair and makeup. And, thanks to Dillard's, the kids get to take their new outfits home, too.
Adding to the more than $3 million the event has raised for Texas Children's since its inception, this year's program raised over $270,000 for the Long-Term Survivor Program. That program, which monitors pediatric patients into adulthood for delayed side effects and complications from previous cancer therapies, is unique to Texas Children's and one of just a few in the nation to provide care throughout a patient's entire life. As such, it has earned Texas Children's an international reputation as a leader in the field for long-term childhood cancer care.
This year's event also honored longtime Texas Children's supporters Sidney and Don Faust, who have hosted 75 retreats for pediatric patients at their West Texas ranch. The weekend getaways have allowed children and their families to spend time together out of the hospital since they began in 1999. The Fausts were also instrumental in creating the very event they were honored at as well as their annual holiday party in the Cancer Center clinic.