As the founder of the Yellow Rose Gala benefiting multiple sclerosis research, Dee Wynne left quite a legacy. Not even a year has gone by since the Dallas philanthropist passed away from complictions of the disease, but her family took her words to heart: Always look forward. Never look back.
“Besides her words, her positive attitude and pure zest for life are what stick with me the most throughout this time,” says daughter Fallon Wynne Way, whose family is resurrecting the gala that meant so much to her mother, to Dallas and those impacted by MS. Joining her in the endeavor are dad (and Dee’s husband) Jimmy, husband Wesley, and brother Todd and his wife Katie.
The last Yellow Rose Gala, in 2001, raked in $2 million, with help from performances by The Eagles, Stevie Nicks and Trisha Yearwood.
The Yellow Rose Gala started in 1985, not long after Wynne’s diagnosis, and became one of the most prominent social events in Dallas, raising funds for MS research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Eventually Wynne’s disease prevented her from continuing with the gala. But that final fundraiser, in 2001, was one for the record books, raking in $2 million, with help from performances by The Eagles, Stevie Nicks and Trisha Yearwood.
Now Wynne’s family is on a mission to bring back the gala that could help find a cure for the disease that took her life but not her spirit.
“She didn’t speak to an individual; she spoke to their soul,” Way says. “By bringing back the Yellow Rose Gala, I feel this precious spirit that touched so many will continue to live on.”
A kickoff party has been set April 30, at the home of Patrick Sands, where past major donors will be reunited. Although the next Yellow Rose Gala isn’t scheduled to happen until April 2016 (a date has not yet been announced), the Wynne family promises it will feature the same outstanding entertainment, auction and raffles that made the original event so memorable.
“Bringing back the gala has been a major goal in my life,” Way says. “There were many discussions with my mom, as she was always touched with the desire to pass on the torch to my generation.”
Speaking of a new generation, two important attendees will be front and center to celebrate their grandmother’s legacy at the Yellow Rose Gala 2016: Way and sister-in-law Katie Wynne are expecting — and they share the same July due date.
“That’s just my mom,” Way says, “up in heaven working her magic.”