Celebration of Life Luncheon ~ Fashion and Philanthropy
Many of the events I cover in Austin have much the same format. I arrive to beautiful venue, see an impressive silent auction to raise money for the designated charity and photograph some amazing style from Austin’s most beautiful, gracious and fashionable ladies.
The 17th annual Celebration of Life luncheon was held at the new JW Marriott in downtown Austin with more than 600 in attendance. This is the third year partial proceeds benefit the Seton Breast Care Center and the first year both organizations partnered together to plan the event. It was the most successful to date according to Co-Chair Cynthia Harkness.
Presented by the Austin Alumnae Chapter Zeta Tau Alpha the luncheon started off with Spring 2015 fashions by Neiman Marcus. The amazing show featured all of the biggest trends, white, fringe and lace. See the runway photos here!
The Austin women responsible for the event included: Co-honorary Chairmen Carla McDonald and Kendra Scott. Co-Chairmen Cynthia Harkness, Tracy Brown, Lisa Younglood and Sarah Mansour. The event committee: Sarabeth Bratton, Lara Burns, Ashley Carlisle, Gwen Coker, Laura Craddick, Lori Johnson, Marcia Levy, Linda Lotz, Susan Lubin, Kelly Redding, Evany Sifuentes, Lauren Urko and Nancy Zimmerman.
As the women mixed and mingled outside the ballroom, hors d’oeuvres and champagne were passed throughout the impeccably dressed crowd. Austin jewelry designer Kendra Scott was spotted talking and hugging friends as we were summoned to the ballroom. She has been involved with this charity for many years and feels the Seton Breast Care center is a vital resource for local women.
“I have been involved early on with the Seton Breast Care Center and, it is so important to have something like this in our city”, Kendra added.
The event chairs took to the stage and thanked all who attended. They also honored the women in the room who are survivors and those who are currently battling the disease. To my amazement, I noticed that nearly every table in the room had a woman stand and with more than 600 people in the room you do the math.
The keynote speaker, Terri Gruca, KVUE New Anchor took to the podium with a tissue in hand and announced to the crowd she was probably going to use it. She tearfully described her own personal journey with dealing with breast cancer sharing how two close friends, and her mother have and are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. She did use her tissue throughout her speech and most of the room could have used a few boxes ourselves.
Kendra Scott introduced two breast cancer survivors friends from the stage, Lisa and Holley who inspired a necklace called The “Lolley Charm”. When someone purchases the necklace, 20% of the proceeds goes directly to the Seton Breast Care Center. The Lolley Charm is a tribute to all who have battled breast cancer. There was a beautifully wrapped Kendra Scott box on each place setting as a gift from Kendra.
As I looked around the room during the presentations, I felt the energy from the room come together as if every woman in the room were one. A feeling I had not experienced before. Quite overwhelming to be honest.
These Austin women are truly making a difference by being a friend sharing a helping hand, or with their generous gifts. The Celebration of Life Luncheon raised approximately $250,000 to help women locally for Breast Care Center. What a blessing.
**I dedicate this article to two pink warriors. My former mother-in-law Carol Bishop who gave breast cancer quite a fight. My daughter Britten wears her Lolley necklace in her honor.
And to a dear friend who has been a breast cancer survivor for many years and recently found out she is battling it again.