Dallas Cowboys and Tiaras — Inside ‘A Knight to Remember’ for Children’s Cancer Fund

One of the Year's Biggest Galas Raised Over $2.5 Million

BY Melissa Smrekar // 05.21.24
photography Tamytha Cameron

If we know anything for certain about the royals, it’s that they remain resilient in the face of adversity. For a truly regal affair, local supporters and national celebrities alike gathered together to celebrate the most resilient fighters among us: pediatric cancer patients and survivors. On Friday, April 19, Children’s Cancer Fund (CCF) hosted its annual gala to raise critical funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Health and UT Southwestern. Fittingly, event chair, Emberli Pridham, best-selling children’s author of the A Real Life Fairy Tale series, served as presenting sponsor of the evening, which lived up to its billing as “A Knight to Remember.”

A regal procession of guests arrived at the Hilton Anatole for the sold-out soiree. Many ladies, in both cocktail dresses and evening gowns, adorned tiaras per the suggested dress code of “crowns optional,” posing in a photobooth that declared them “fairest of them all.”

Continuing the “Quarterbacks for a Cure” legacy established by Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach, former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, and current QB1 Dak Prescott served as honorary chairs for the evening. 

Remarking on his 25-year dedication to CCF, Aikman said, “It’s always a special night and remains the best event I participate in every year, because of the kids,” He continued. “These kids are the real heroes because of their courage and fight. I hope a cure will soon be found, but until then, I will come back every year.”

Following dinner, both Aikman and Prescott (serving for the second time as honorary chair after succeeding Staubach), as well as another beloved Dallas quarterback and all-around-good-guy Tony Romo, joined 23 pediatric cancer patients for an inspiring fashion show. In addition to their Dillard’s ‘fits, the young patients (ages 6-17) modeled their bravery, flashing their sparkling personalities and even bigger smiles to the adoring crowd. (Romo even paused mid-walk for a playful pushup with his runway buddy!)

This year’s celebrity roster included everyone from Real Housewife Kathy Hilton and daughter Nicky to alice + olivia founder and CEO Stacey Bendet to Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia. 

The Highland Park Fire Department and Kewan Gibson at children's cancer fund gala in dallas
The Highland Park Fire Department with Kewan Gibson at the 2024 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala.

For the families of those young cancer survivors, the evening truly felt like a fairy tale. For those current patients, the gala served as a beacon of hope and a glimpse of life after cancer. 

“The energy and enthusiasm of these remarkable children and their families fuel the efforts and impact of the Gala,” said CCF Executive Director Jennifer Arthur. “The resilience of these brave survivors serves as the inspiration in our work throughout the year. On this night, they take center stage, bringing light and hope to their families, the audience, and one another.”

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Including proceeds from an enthusiastic live auction (which included auctioning off a custom Moke!), the evening raised $2.7 million for pediatric cancer research and treatment programs, shattering CCF’s previous fundraising achievements.

A “knight” that won’t soon be forgotten!

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