Some galas bring in Hollywood A-listers to be the stars of the night. The 2018 St. Jude Evening Under the Stars Party let one of their patients shine brightest.
A teenager named Corbin stole the show several times. First, he and his mother, Heather, spoke bravely about his two experiences as a cancer patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital — once, as a 3-year-old and later, as a 15-year-old in the prime of his high school baseball-playing years. Then he returned to the ballroom stage twice to play guitar and sing in a band with some of his friends. They brought the house down with their rendition of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine."
Corbin no doubt inspired the sold-out crowd of 1,250 gathered at the Omni Dallas Hotel on November 3 to give generously. A record amount of more than $2 million was raised for St. Jude — specifically, $2,044,809.
Holly and Doug Brooks chaired this year's event, and Cindy and Charlie Feld chaired the dinner program. The evening honored NFL Hall of Fame football legend Tim Brown and his wife, Sherice, who have been long and generous supporters of St. Jude. Scott Murray served as emcee.
The night started with a lively cocktail reception in the foyer, where patrons could bid on a dizzying array of items, from art and jewelry to furniture, trips, and retail and restaurant experiences.
When the ballroom doors opened, guests found on their chairs colorful gift bags featuring the artwork of a St. Jude patient. Inside was a charming book of drawings and messages written by other St. Jude patients, including Corbin.
The title of the book, "ABC's of Cancer," was also the theme of the event. Corbin got the letter B and chose to write about the word "beanie," which covered his head during his cancer treatment. His entry ended with his inspirational words, "What's underneath is different than who's beneath because under all these layers is a freakin' cancer slayer."
While learning more about St. Jude through a video montage and presentation from president and CEO Richard C. Shadyac, Jr., guests dined on a decadent meal of arugula salad, chili spiced filet of beef, and dessert duo of turtle cheesecake and mango tart.
Auctioneer Yve Rojas didn't let a bid go unnoticed when patrons raised their paddles to vie for some truly incredible live auction items. Among them were a Napa wine experience courtesy of Kathryn and Craig Hall; a live taping of "Shark Tank" provided by Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle; and an opportunity to drive a new Audi or Cadillac every season, courtesy of Sewell.
The inspiring "Give to Live" portion of the program began with a couple challenging the audience to raise $250,000, which they would match. The crowd went above and beyond, giving a record $349,000 — every penny of which was matched.
After all the money had been raised, those wanting to continue the revelry danced to the music of the Ice House Band.
Spotted among the generous patrons in the crowd were Pennie Marshall, Alan Marshall, Jennifer Paradise, Mitch Paradise, Marian Bryan, George Bryan, Trey Higginbothan, Isabell Novakov, Lydia Novakov, Dan Novakov, Julie Forte, Joe Haggar III, Eddie Sweis, Airib Sweis, Kelly Tadros, George Tadros, Taylor Brooks, Laura Brooks, and Kyle Brooks.