90° F Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Westbanker and Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s life trustee Susan and Michael Dell

By Holly Jackson

Contributing Writer

The Austin Convention Center was transformed into an upscale and swank setting for the recent Dell Children’s Medical Center Gala.

In recognition of dedicated supporters, the message of the annual event was “You. Here for you and because of you.”

More than 1,000 philanthropic partygoers enjoyed an elite evening amidst David Kurio’s white floral arrangements and Townsley Designs’ spectacular staging. A cocktail reception featured mingling with black-tie attired notables and music by the Minor Mishap Band.

The University of Texas women’s service organization, the Lassos, sold raffle tickets for a Viking gas grill and assisted with the silent auction. Impressive items included a Diamonds Direct necklace, Kendra Scott jewelry design party, Stuart Weitzman shopping night, a longhorn steer and special trips to the Kentucky Derby race, a San Francisco Giants game, Snowmass skiing and “The Tonight Show” in Los Angeles.

Auctioneer Spanky Assiter led the live auction. The highest priced packages were a villa vacation at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley that was purchased for $20,000, VIP tickets to the Academy for Country Music Awards in Las Vegas that was won for $20,000 and stays at the Four Seasons Hotels in Argentina and Uruguay that was purchased for $25,000.

All tables surrounded a circular stage, so the entire audience was close and inclusive. The program incorporated continuous live music with the Band of Heathens, The Trishas, Hayes Carll, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. Iron Chef champion chef Kent Rathbun created a signature dinner.

Westbankers and parents Jennifer and Blake Salle spoke about their daughter, Skylar, who received life-saving care when in a coma. Parents Katherine and Pat Jones shared the story of their son Patton who was cured from stage-three cancer.

The casino lounge showcased music by DJ Manny, accompanied by performers from the Zach Scott Theatre. The after-party was across the street at Trio in the Four Seasons Hotel. The Matt Wilson band and breakfast fare kept festivities thriving until the early morning.

The 120 gala committee members, more than 150 members of the Dell Children’s Council and the Children’s Medical Center Foundation that hosted the benefit were elated that the effort grossed $1,376,000. Proceeds go toward a facility to add a new tower addition for 74 beds. The Westbank-based Michael and Susan Dell Foundation is matching $1 for every $2 donated for the new tower. Moreover, an in-patient rehabilitation center will be built.

“My husband, Owen, and I are thrilled by tonight’s success,” said event co-chair Mary Miles Temple. “We are touched by the commitments to raise funds for the only level-one pediatric trauma center in our community.”

Since June 2007, Dell Children’s has been the only dedicated, freestanding pediatric hospital in Central Texas. Serving 142,000 patients from a 46-county area under the stewardship of the Seton Family of Hospitals, the medical center contains a world class, multidisciplinary team of pediatric specialists and nurses. The nonprofit’s members are dedicated to ensuring no child is refused necessary care for lack of ability to pay.

For further information, visit dellchildrens.net.
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