2nd Annual Cancer Support Community Red Tie Gala

Third time was the charm! After two COVID postponements, Cancer Support Community North Texas celebrated its 20th anniversary at the organization’s second-annual Red Tie Gala on Friday, April 29 at the Empire Room.

Even with a few unexpected moments (see below), more than 250 people danced, ate, and bid to support the organization late into the night. 

Executive Director Mirchelle Louis – CSCNT CEO and cancer patient – along with co-chair Laura Wheat (husband Doug Wheat was nursing a broken ankle and co-chairs Susan and Scott Salka attended to Scott who was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital) were joined by Wheat’s adult son, Kyler, and Salka’s adults sons (Kendrick, Brad and LaMar), took the stage to spotlight the organization’s incredible virtual programming success during COVID and continued no-cost emotional and social support of cancer patients and their families across the DFW area.

Susan & Scott Salka’s sons (Kendrick Azubuike, Brad Nowakowski, LaMar Greenwood). PHOTO: Deven Ashley

WFAA Good Morning Texas anchor Hannah Davis welcomed the attendees to the red-themed event – the organization’s iconic welcoming “front door” color – and shared personal stories of how cancer has personally impacted her life and encouraged others to support CSCNT.

Co-chair, CSCNT co-founder, and three-time cancer survivor Laura Wheat reinforced her gratitude for the organization and added that she knew “first-hand” the impact of emotional and social support as someone who’s faced cancer many times (as has her husband, Doug). She also provided a little humor of how hard Doug had tried to walk on his injured ankle to try and attend the evening’s festivities. 

Wheat was then joined by Salka’s three sons and received framed honors for their support of the organization by Louis, who expressed her deep gratitude to both couples and their families. 

New National Cancer Support Community CEO Debbie Weir flew in from her new role in Washington, D.C. – formerly the 15-year CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in North Texas – to share her support for Louis the “legendary impact” she and the organization has had on thousands of lives. 

Founding CEO Emeritus of Texas Health Resources and CSCNT “Thrive” recipient Doug Hawthorne, who was accompanied by his wife Martha at the event, awarded Dr. Lucy Gildea, chief innovation officer of product and science at Mary Kay Inc. – and who serves on the board of CSCNT – this year’s “Thrive” award on behalf of the Mary Kay Ash Foundation. The charitable foundation has provided grants to CSCNT totaling $370,000. 

Doug Hawthorne presenting Dr. Lucy Gildea & Mary Kay Ash Foundation “Thrive” award. PHOTO: Deven Ashley Photography

From there, the evening continued with tapas, professional dancers from Vow to Dance – all donned in red (or red bow ties) – leading guests in swing-style dances throughout the night – and both a silent and energetic live auction, including the “heads or tails” fundraiser, which architect Katy Arbour won. Katy was also the architect of CSCNT’s three DFW clubhouses in Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin Counties.

Following the live auction and hours of dancing, Louis returned to the stage to thank all attendees for their generosity and to reinforce that, as is part of the organization’s mission, “no one should face cancer alone!” (The organization is still determining how much the event raised, but according to Louis was “extremely pleased and grateful.”)

She also thanked the event’s primary sponsors: AMN Healthcare Services, Woot!, Rosemary Haggar Vaughn Family Foundation, Grant Thornton, Locke Lord, Amegy Bank, Food Saved Me, Katy and Mike Arbour, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Janet Moll, and Dave Ashworth, Jordan Kahn Music Company, and Vow to Dance Studio.

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