A daylong downpour did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm for the Yellow Rose Gala, held April 13 at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel. This was the fourth such affair under the leadership of Fallon Wynne Way, who resurrected the pre-eminent Dallas charitable event founded in 1986 by her mother, Dee Wynne.
But Way doesn’t like to start counting from 2016, so this year’s gala, themed Paint the Town Yellow, went down as the 33rd in Yellow Rose history. The mission remains unchanged: to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis — in particular progressive MS, the disease from which her mother suffered.
The evening started out with cocktails, stilt walkers, gold-painted bodies, silly photos in front of the signature yellow rose step-and-repeat, and dance performances by a group of women affectionately dubbed The Hotflashes. (Sorry, ladies, but you were upstaged by little Kennedy Wynne, who had her own dance party of one.) Among those mingling were the National MS Society’s Shannon Nelson, event co-chairmen Matthew Minick and Larry Lott, Dallas TV star Sheree J. Wilson, Lauren and Tom Elsener, Valerie and James Mosley, Melina and Michael Cain, Dr. Sudha Kumar, and Kristy and Patrick Sands.
But once the dinner program began, led by the always on-point Lauren Przybyl of Fox 4 Good Day, attendees were reminded of the cause. Way’s brother Todd Wynne, who helped her bring the gala back to life, complimented his sister, saying he sees their mother’s strength in her. Following remarks by the family were a parade of speakers, including Greg Moore of the Kathleen C. Moore Foundation, named for his wife, who lives with secondary-progressive MS. The Moores put $120,000 in Yellow Rose’s coffers.
Football coach Sam Harrell also took the stage. In 2005, he was diagnosed with progressive MS, and by 2009 he was unable to walk without assistance. After retiring in 2010, he underwent three stem cell treatments in Panama. Now he not only walks, but also exercises and coaches — things he never thought he’d be able to do again. Equally inspiring were the 2019 Dee Wynne Courage Award recipients, the John Malcolm Robertson Jr. family, so chosen because mother and daughter are both living with MS.
Before the good times could resume, there was more money to raise, in the form of a live auction. The first items up for bid were three portraits — Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, and Lady Liberty — painted live by artist Tim Decker. Other big-ticket items included a Chilean fishing trip, private dinner for 12 with Dallas chef Sharon Hage, and a vintage coral and diamond cocktail ring from J. Pacetti Precious Jewels.
With thousands more dollars earmarked for progressive MS research, partygoers hit the dance floor, lured by the lively tunes of Sir Earl Toon of Kool & The Gang. For those who could hang, there was an after-party with DJ and late-night taquitos courtesy of Whataburger — saving many a guest a trip to the drive-through on the way home.