What: AWARE Affair: Celebrate the Moments, "Blooms of Hope" Gala
Where: Sixty Five Hundred
The 411: On a lovely April evening, supporters of the Alzheimer's-focused nonprofit AWARE showed up to the Blooms of Hope gala donning vibrant "shades of spring" — the dress code for the evening.
Musicians from DSQ Electric entertained as guests mingled and bid on dozens of silent auction items and sipped signature cocktails with names that suited the season: Katy Trail Vodka’s "Katy Garden Spritzer," ROXOR Artisan Gin’s "Blooming Gin and Tonic," and Tequila Partida’s "Raspberry Spritz."
When it was time to be seated, patrons found their tables adorned with floral designs in shades of pinks and purple (purple being the color for Alzheimer's awareness), created by Posh Floral Designs at the direction of Hamilton A. Sneed and his team at HAS Events, which produced the affair.
AWARE president Sharon Ballew and gala chairs Ginny Bond Fein and Sarah B. Smith welcomed guests and spoke of their inspiration for the evening — Smith's mother, Rebecca “Beauty” Bearden, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Smith's new book, Broken Beauty, Piecing Together Lives Shattered by Early-Onset Alzheimer’s, shares her family’s journey, with a hope that it reveals a light in the darkness for others.
“Charity is personal, and giving not only comes from our hearts, but it is also motivated by our own life experiences," the chairs said. "To us, fighting to end Alzheimer’s disease is very personal as we continue to walk alongside and fight for Sarah’s mother."
Guests dined on a meal by FGF Catering, starting with a salad of baby kale with roasted golden beets, dried cranberries, crumbled Chevre, toasted almonds, and pomegranate vinaigrette. Main course was airline chicken with kalamata olive tomato relish and saffron risotto paired with rosemary beef skewer with demi glace and citrus asparagus; and for dessert, spring lemon cheesecake or chocolate mousse with raspberry garnish.
After dinner, awards were given to honorary chairs Ellen Terry (founder of Ellen Terry Realtors) with her daughter, Amy Terry Kriegel and son, Todd Terry. The Amy Osler Spirit of Education Leadership Award was presented by Honorary Chairs Emeritus Amy and Greg Osler to Stacey Jones Angel. And grateful acknowledgment was given to the Myrna D. Schlegel/AWARE Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to nursing students from Baylor and Texas Women’s University to further their studies in the field of gerontology, especially dementia.
A live auction by auctioneer Mike Trent included a unique tradition: Honorary chair emeritus David McDavid, Jr. auctioned off a now-iconic "AWARE Men purple jacket" with last year’s purple jacket winner Randall Barnes alongside him. Bart Humphrey purchased one jacket, and another sold to Pat Crow. They sold for $3,750 each.
Also up for grabs were trips to Cabo San Lucas and Argentina, and a package that included shopping at William Noble Rare Jewels and floor tickets to a Dallas Mavericks game, all of which sold for thousands of dollars. A spirited game of "Last Man Standing" earned AWARE even more money and earned the final competitor a stay at the Four Seasons resort in Las Colinas.
Guests finalized their silent auction bids and danced the night away to tunes spun by DJ Andre 7 before grabbing a warm cookie from Tiff's Treats as a sweet way to end the night.
Since its founding in 1989, AWARE (which stands for Alzheimer’s Women’s Association for Resources and Education) has donated over $12.7 million toward its mission of fighting Alzheimer’s disease by providing funding and support to local programs, projects, and research that help all individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
This year, AWARE awarded grants to 10 organizations: Baylor Healthcare System, CC Young, Center for Brain Health, Center for Vital Longevity, Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Dallas Museum of Art, Jewish Family Service, Juliette Fowler Communities, The Senior Source, and Texas Winds Musical Outreach.
Who: Blake Smith, Sarah Smith, Tavia Hunt, Clark Hunt, Mark Fein, Thad Smith, Paul Jackson, Melanie Jackson, Shawna Kuykendall, John Kuykendall, Brooke Jackson, Jeff Jackson, Cheryl Chantilis, Sam Chantilis, Randy Barnes, Kim Barnes, Kim McDavid, Penny Reid, Tom Nolan, Ron Hall, Beth Hall, Janet Broyles, Jack Broyles, Jared Burnett, Jared Kisner, Misty Keown, Bill Blankenship, Faith Majors, Lee Majors, and Maurice Ballew.