Society / The Seen

Dak, Zeke, Troy Aikman, and Kathy Hilton — The 2023 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala Was a Star-Studded Spectacle in Dallas

Glitter Everywhere for One of Dallas' Biggest Nights

BY // 04.27.23
photography BFA and Tamytha Cameron

It was a scene that could be spotted from miles away. There were sequined headbands donned, cowboy hats tipped, feathers adorned, and most of all: glitter… everywhere. The “Light It Up” theme of this year’s Children’s Cancer Fund Gala, which featured a fashion show with the kids and their chosen escorts, was one that Dallasites heeded proudly. At the Hilton Anatole, gaggles of girls in gowns exchanged air kisses and studied the items up for bid between sips of chardonnay.

Sharon Lee Clark, the auction co-chair, was reminiscent of Old Hollywood exuberance as she bubbled from conversation to conversation in a Halpern Studio zebra print sequin column dress with a crystal Prada headband. The always-fab Kimberly Whitman impressed in a draped silver midi that she plucked from NorthPark’s Neiman’s, preparing to escort the young Addalyn Lovett down the runway. Blogger Dani Ramirez, better known by her Instagram handle @daniaustin, too took part in the fashion show, standing out in a rose-pink bejeweled frock and metallic accessories.

*Zeke Elliot, Jennifer Arthur, Tony Romo (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)
Zeke Elliot, Jennifer Arthur, Tony Romo (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)

After swapping stories of the season and leaving heartfelt messages for those the night was honoring, guests headed to the ballroom for the pivotal event. Gala co-chairs Heather Randall and Blake Stephenson began with a round of thank you’s to the donors and sponsors of the Children’s Cancer Fund – which partners with Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern in their mission to improve treatment and care methods for pediatric patients ­– before the fashion show began.

It was difficult to keep emotions from rising when the emcee for the evening, Meredith Land, introduced the young warriors as they stepped out in their Dillard’s looks. Hannah Bishara, a competitive figure skater who was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 7, strutted her strength alongside the cast of her favorite TV show, The Chosen. Athlete and avid video gamer River Bray hopes to walk the moon once he’s cancer-free, and received pointers from his hero, a Blue Origin astronaut, on stage. Other escorts included legends like Troy Aikman and Dak Prescott – the event’s honorary chairmen – and celebs like “bag snob” Tina Craig, Nicky Hilton, and Kathy Hilton (Paris, for her part, left a video message encouraging the kids to “keep sliving”).

*Avery Reyes and Stacey Bendet (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)
Avery Reyes and Alice+Olivia founder Stacey Bendet (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)

When the auction started, Nicky couldn’t resist doubling up her donation at the last second to allow for two $30k-paying winners, who would each enjoy a one-on-one lunch with the heiress at the members-only New York City club, Zero Bond, following a morning at Fashion Week. Bidders also raised their paddles for a personalized pickleball court, a ski boat, a Dallas Cowboys sideline experience, and tickets to Taylor Swift’s Nashville concert with a two-nights-stay at the city’s Four Seasons. The night proved a successful one, as it saw a record $2 million raised for cancer research.

Olya Sinitsyna, Tina Craig, Nicky Hilton (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)
Olya Sinitsyna, Tina Craig, Nicky Hilton (Photo by BFA and Tamytha Cameron)

And while many guests headed home after the party, the Big D was too enticing for some to call it quits so early. According to Tina Craig’s Instagram, she and Kathy Hilton kept Dallas’ boozy spirit alive with an impassioned performance of “We Are Family” at The Rosewood Mansion’s piano bar for anyone up past midnight.

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Additional guests spotted in the well-Blahnik-heeled crowd included Leigh Anne and Dave Clark, Brian Bolke, and Reed Robertson.

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