Mental health advocacy
Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott champions kindness at 2023 Beacon of Hope Luncheon
What: Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon
Where: Omni Dallas Hotel
The 411: About 700 attendees gathered to cheer on Grant Halliburton Foundation's mission to support adolescent mental health - and to cheer on their favorite Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Dak Prescott, along with Solomon Thomas of the New York Jets, delivered messages of hope at the 14th annual fundraising luncheon on March 7.
Both players use their platforms off the field to raise awareness about mental health and suicide through their foundations.
Andy Adler, CBS 11 sports anchor and children’s rights activist, interviewed Prescott and Thomas on stage. Both shared the seemingly simple message to "be kind." They demonstrated why it's so important from their personal experiences.
Prescott has been open about his own mental health challenges. His Faith Fight Finish Foundation was established as a tribute to his mom, Peggy, who died of cancer in 2013, and its work also honors his brother, Jace, who died in 2020 by suicide.
"Depression and anxiety can overwhelm you. I realized that during the first month of COVID. Sunny days felt dark, and my big house and yard felt small and closed in," Prescott said from stage. "We have the obligation to take care of ourselves and neighbors. Help your neighbors and loved ones ... We have hope. React in a healthy way.”
Similarly, Thomas (a Dallas native) lost his sister, Ella, to suicide in 2018 and co-founded The Defensive Line with his parents, Martha and Chris Thomas (who were in attendance). Their organization focuses on mental health and suicide prevention.
"We must treat ourselves as human beings and others as human beings. Ask people not how they are doing, but how are you really doing," Thomas urged, adding, "Vote and identify candidates who care about mental health. We have to make sure our kids have support in schools. We didn’t see widespread support 10 years ago.”
Local students joined Prescott and Thomas on stage to ask questions before Halliburton Foundation president Kevin Hall presented theprestigious Beacon Award to both players.
Steve Noviello of FOX 4 News served as the master of ceremonies for the luncheon, which followed a champagne reception where guests took part in mental health activations, viewed and purchased raffle packages, and listened to DJ Lucy Wrubel keep the beat lively.
This year's luncheon chairs were the Conly family — Jeanie and Bert Conly and their children, Lindsey and Aaron Berg, Mark Briscoe, and Kendall and Luke Cagle; Barb Farmer is the founding luncheon chair. Vanita Halliburton spoke about the organization she co-founded after losing her son Grant to suicide 17 years ago.
For more information about the Grant Halliburton Foundation and resources they offer, visit their website.
Who: Kaileigh Johnson, Misaki Collins, Rama Vangipuram, Neera Truong, Judy Rawle, T.J. Griffin, Polly Campbell, Bev Berry-Vuckovich, Susan Griffiths, Lucy Witte, Sonya Parker Goode, Norman Goode, Julia Butler, Amy McCloskey, Dave Farmer, and hundreds more.