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Houston’s Tickled Pink Mania Grows Into a Record Setter, Takes Over The Post Oak Hotel — Riot Of Colors Brings Ballroom Buzz

Fighting Cancer While Showing Plenty of Heart

BY // 04.12.24

Here’s the secret to a successful fundraiser: Pick a really good theme. Four years ago — long before Barbie burst on the scene as one of the most successful movies of all time — the Houston branch of the American Cancer Society launched its first Tickled Pink Luncheon and asked everyone to wear a favorite shade of the color that serves as the international symbol for breast cancer awareness.

The luncheon has grown by leaps and bounds since then and this year’s edition at The Post Oak Hotel was the biggest and brightest yet as more than 650 attendees followed the theme with gusto. Fortunately, there are lots of variations of pink — more than 247, according to Pinterest — and Tickled Pink attendees chose just about every shade around.

“I love a good theme,” says Beth Muecke, founder of the lifestyle blog Bethie Life, who was dressed in a embellished pink ballet dress, pink tights and a pink wig. “With this theme, it reminds me of a pink heart because of the love you feel in this room.”

Melissa Reihle, Beth Muecke Jacob Power
Melissa Reihle, Beth Muecke. (Photo by Jacob Power)

Styles among the women ranged from fuchsia cocktail gowns to pastel pink florals; hot pink sequined minis to fringe-trimmed cowgirl hats in bubblegum pink; salmon-shaded pantsuits to rose pink boas, Barbie-pink glasses and neon pink wigs. A  smattering of men joined in the festivities in seersucker jackets, ties and shirts with a pink motif.

The riot of colors seemed to have a boisterous effect on the Tickled Pink crowd, as the noise in the foyer before the ballroom doors were opened for the noontime luncheon reached airplane engine level as everyone shouted to be heard above the din as they mingled and lined up for photographs in front of a floral wall.

American Cancer Society Tickled Pink Luncheon at Post Oak Hotel
Paulina Padilla, Christy Lynn, Courtney Harmon, Marilyn Bailey. (Photo by Jacob Power)

Or perhaps it was the bottomless champagne glasses with unlimited refills, which could be purchased for an extra fee to generate additional funds for the cause, that helped to rev up the crowd. Co-chairs Jacquie Baly, Cynthia Wolff and Beth Wolff were thrilled that proceeds from the luncheon brought in a new record of nearly $390,000 to support the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research, education programs and support services.

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Nelda Blair, Chree Boydstun, Shelley Reeves Boyer, Cheryl Creuzot, Evelyn Leightman, Janette Marx and Sue Smith were honored for their contributions to the community and their support of cancer research and education. Leightman shared her 25-year cancer journey and Dr. Arif Kamal, the chief patient officer for American Cancer Society, gave an optimistic update, noting that there has been a 40 percent decline in breast cancer deaths since 1991 but reminded the audience that much remains to be done.

“Investment and research saves lives,” Kamal notes.

Showing the effect cancer has had on most people, Channel 13 anchor Gina Gaston Elie, who emceed the Tickled Pink luncheon, asked those who were cancer survivors or had served as caregivers to stand. At that point, there was virtually no one seated in the mammoth ballroom.

PC Seen: Honorary chair Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman, Fran Gordon Lichtenstein, Kelly Lubanko, Rosemary Schatzman, Cheryl Byington, Tripp Carter, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Tena Lundquist Faust, Tama Lundquist, Cora Sue Mach, Patti Murphy, Roxann Neumann, Sandra Porter, Lauren Fisher, Leila Perrin, Stephanie Tsuru, Courtney Zavala, American Cancer Society executive vice president Jeff Fehlis, American Cancer Society senior executive director Jenny Todd, Marilu Garza, Betty Hrncir, Whitney Kuhl Lawson, Vicki Luna, and H-E-B group vice president Winnel Herron. The supermarket chain was a major underwriter of the luncheon.

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