Society / Featured Parties

Special Houston Supper Club Finally Brings the Texas Heart Institute Back to the Social Scene — Inside an $800,000 Comeback

Top Doctors, Grateful Patients and Bayou City Power Players Party Together

BY // 09.29.23

Can it really have been seven years since we last gathered with doctors, patients and supporters in celebration of the Texas Heart Institute? Yes. But the absence was made up for with The Supper Club gala, a swell evening at the Post Oak Hotel that raised more than $800,000 for THI.

That last most recent 2016 gala raised $700,000.

Texans Heart Institute’s The Supper Club
Todd Forester & Kelli Kickerillo with their son, Kick, and her parents, Vincent & Mary Kickerillo at Texas Heart Institute’s ‘The Supper Club’ gala at The Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Michelle Watson)

Gala chairs Kelli Kickerillo and Todd Forester with an assist from the honorees — Kelly’s parents Mary and Vincent Kickerillo — delivered one excellent evening for the Texas Heart Institute. Going short on the program — though the message on the importance of  THI was delivered — and long on fab entertainment, combined with a truly tasty meal, saw this gala raise the bar.

For starters, the Friday night event was cocktail attire, no grumbling from the gents who would prefer to leave their tuxes in mothballs. The dreamy decor spoke of supper clubs from 1940s with spotlighted tables dressed in golden cloths and topped with profusions of bold red floral bouquets. The restaurant quality dinner of shrimp cocktail appetizer and filet mignon main course was applauded. (No heading to Whataburger after this gala.) And the wine was exceptional.

Richard Blades, Polly Bowden, Theresa Blades, Murry Bowden at Texas Heart Institute's 'The Supper Club' gala at The Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Michelle Watson)
Ken Valach, Polly Bowden, Theresa Blades, Murry Bowden at Texas Heart Institute’s ‘The Supper Club’ gala at The Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Michelle Watson)

The program featuring THI president and CEO Dr. Joseph Rogers was succinct and the video (which ran about two minutes too long) confirmed the importance of Texas Heart Institute physicians and research. It featured a 33-year-old mother who suffered cardiac arrest and was unconscious and in the ICU for eight days before her heart began beating on its own. She has since made a full recovery and was something of a star of the evening.

“While her life-saving hospitalization was relatively brief, the technology that saved this young mother, much of which was created, refined, or tested at the Texas Heart Institute, took years to develop,” Rogers told the gathering of 400. “Our investigators work countless hours on the high-risk, high reward research that will be the next firsts.”

 Lauren & Tilman Fertitta at Texas Heart Institute's 'The Supper Club' gala held at the Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Lauren & Tilman Fertitta at Texas Heart Institute’s ‘The Supper Club’ gala held at the Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Among those researchers was Dr. Bud Frazier who was featured in the video which also gave a nod to the late Dr. Denton Cooley, Texas Heart Institute founder. The Kickerillos, long supporters of the institute, also contributed to the video.

Then the fun began with Pink Martini, a self-proclaimed “little orchestra” from Oregon, that rocked the night with a mix of Latin, old classics, traditional pop and jazz. Even though the dance floor was small, the sounds of this lively band inspired many to rock ‘n’ roll.

Rand Holstead, Morty Cohn, Lindsay Holstead- daniel ortiz
Rand Holstead, Morty Cohn, Lindsay Holstead at Texas Heart Institute’s ‘The Supper Club’ gala at The Post Oak Hotel. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

PC Seen: THI board chair Eric Wade and Leslie, 10-year-old Kick Forester, Dr. Billy Cohn, Windi and David Grimes, Hallie Grimes, Rachel and Dr. Bud Frazier, Theresa and Matt Blades, Morty Cohn, Lauren and Tilman Fertitta, Sandra Burgess, Marli Andrade and Alfred Glassell III, Dr. Stephanie Coulter and Will Brown, Rose Cullen, Joan Schnitzer, Lisa and Jerry Simon, Marcia Strauss and David Frantz.

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