Farrah Fawcett Foundation honors cancer-crusading 'angel' Katie Couric at 2023 Dallas benefit
Hollywood icons and angels descended on Dallas for the second year, for the 2023 Farrah Fawcett Foundation Tex-Mex Fiesta.
Held at The Rustic on September 28, the star-studded benefit included a red carpet, Tex-Mex buffet dinner, award presentations, live auction, and margaritas that flowed all night long - all to raise money for the fight against cancer. Proceeds went to The American Cancer Society/Cattle Baron's Ball and Stand Up To Cancer.
Co-chairs Alana Stewart, Jaclyn Smith, and Linda Gray - the late Farrah Fawcett's bestie, Charlie's Angels co-star, and last year's Angel Award winner, respectively - welcomed guests. Then actor and famously tanned man George Hamilton took over to emcee the presentations with his signature charm, wit, and sweet banter with ex-wife Stewart.
Dr. Lawrence Piro, Fawcett’s former oncologist and Chief Medical Advisor for the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, underscored the importance of the evening’s fundraising efforts. Fawcett passed away from rectal cancer in 2009, at the age of 62. The foundation that bears her name and raises money for cancer-related causes is her greatest legacy, her friends agreed on stage.
A live auction led by Samantha Robinson of Heritage Auctions raised thousands of dollars with one-of-a-kind items like lunch with George Hamilton the following day at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (sold for $10,000) and a "Hollywood Experience" including lunch with "The Fonz" Henry Winkler (sold for $14,000).
Country music star Brett Eldredge got the crowd on its feet with a quick set of his hits, and DJ 13lackbeard kept the party beats lively. Actress Dyan Cannon gave a heartfelt tribute, and Patrick Foley - Fawcett’s long time friend, make-up artist, and Neiman Marcus’ resident make-up artist - was recognized for his support of the Foundation.
But the emotional highlight of the evening was the presentation of the foundation's 2023 Angel Award to Katie Couric. The trailblazing journalist famously underwent a colonoscopy on air after her husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer at age 42 in 1998. In September 2022, Couric revealed her own breast cancer diagnosis.
In her acceptance speech, Couric spoke poignantly about all the things the cancer took away from her two daughters, who were just 2 and 6 years old when their dad passed.
"I know what it's like to lose someone you love way before their time," she said. "In two words: It sucks ... devastating, life-shattering, horrific. No adjective sufficiently describes what that period of my life was like."
She encouraged people not to "get squeamish" about "cancers that occur below the belt" (referring specifically to rectal and colon cancers).
"I've always said, 'Don't die of embarrassment,'" she said. "You know, if we're lucky, we all have colons, we all have anuses, it's just part of our biology, so let's get real about that, people."
After Couric's colonoscopy on The Today Show, the number of people who got screened increased 20 percent, she said.
"But that statistic means so much more," she said. "It means that so many people got to watch their child score a goal at a soccer game, so many people got to watch their child graduate with honors, so many people got to watch their child walk down the aisle."
She said she often wonders what Farrah and Jay would be doing today.
"Honestly, I get so sad and so mad when I think about everything [her daughters] have missed," she said. "We couldn't save them, but we can use every ounce of our energy to spare others from a similar fate."
Among the patrons there to support the event were actress Donna Mills, designer Cynthia Rowley, John Tatum, Jim Foley, Christine Romeo, Jeffrey Lane, and hundreds of generous Dallasites.