The Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC) Warrior Family Holiday Party was hosted and sponsored by longtime supporters AutoNation and BMW of Dallas at the BMW of Dallas dealership on Lemmon Avenue. The Warriors are children battling cancer whose families join them in year-long events through the Warrior Family Program offered by WOKC.
"AutoNation and BMW of Dallas were delighted and honored to sponsor this wonderful event again this year. Our support of WOKC's mission went hand-in-hand with opening our doors to welcome the Warriors and their families to help celebrate the joy and wonder of the holidays," said Huck Hibberd, BMW of Dallas General Manager.
As families entered the event, they were greeted by Santa Claus who invited them to join in a fun photo for the holidays. They enjoyed dinner from Jersey Mike's Subs, hot chocolate, a drive-in movie on BMW’s rooftop featuring The Polar Express, and more.
The centerpiece of the evening was the exchange of the Warrior Baskets for each child. A Warrior Basket was a beautifully decorated basket full of multiple items from the Warrior’s individual wish list. These wishes ranged from clothes to video games, from Air Pods to dolls, and from books to sporting goods. Several Warriors received bicycles they requested as part of their wish list. Siblings of every Warrior provided a wish list and received personalized presents as well. Parents also received gift cards. At the holiday party, both donors and purchasers presented the Warriors with their baskets and, in exchange, received a framed picture of the Warrior they supported.
The Warrior Basket event was chaired by Regina Bruce and Dr. Carla Russo, founders of the Lone Star Monarchs, who said: “Thanks to the generosity and support of friends, family, WOKC board members, Guild members and other generous contributors who championed our efforts to raise critical funds for lifesaving pediatric cancer research this holiday season, the Lone Star Monarchs were able to present a check in the amount of $26,000 to WOKC. This donation to WOKC represents $1,000 being given in honor of each one of the 26 brave WOKC Warriors. We applaud and admire these WOKC Warriors for their strength and courage and hope these funds will support cutting-edge research that will help save lives and one day find a cure so that pediatric cancer is no longer a threat to ANY child. We hope that many others will join us and be inspired and encouraged by our collective efforts on behalf of WOKC to also donate and help make a difference in the lives of these beautiful children NOW!”
In addition to presenting a check to WOKC, the Lone Star Monarchs donated The Polar Express-themed items to each of the 26 WOKC Warriors and their families to take home and enjoy for the holiday season. They included personalized wooden round-trip tickets along with silver Christmas bells, personalized hardback copies of The Polar Express accompanied by brass tree ornaments, canisters of popcorn, and Santa baskets of sweet treats and cupcakes.
Aashik Khakoo, CEO, Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer said, “It was truly heartwarming to be with our Warriors and their families as they smiled and laughed and enjoyed all of the goodies, wonderful gift baskets, and treats throughout the evening. Everyone at WOKC offers our sincere thanks to AutoNation and BMW of Dallas for continuing their support of this event, to the Lone Star Monarchs for chairing, coordinating, and implementing the Warrior Gift Basket campaign, to Lynn McDonough for decorating all of the Warrior Gift Baskets, and to all of the sponsors, underwriters, and volunteers who made this event possible.”
Sponsors included “Believe” $5,000+: Regina Bruce and John Pickett/CAPTRUST; Dr. Carla Russo and Joe Russo/BDO USA, LLP. “Santa Claus” $2,000+: Rhonda Johnson and John Pickrell/Microsoft; Cindy and William Simmons. “Bells of Christmas” $1,000+: Mary Bentley/IBM, Jeanne and George Lewis, Kimberly Elliott/ProStar Events, Karee Sampson, Cindi Tesseneer. “North Pole” $500+: David Andrews, Carlo Barone, Adam Bernal, Maurice Efune, Proshad Efune, M.D., Jacqueline Griffin, Laura Sanders, Libby Sanders Szabo, Ava Joy Solazzo. “Conductor” $250+: Fozi E. Bayoud, Katelyn Boone, Apsaline Douglas and Edward Douglas, Kristi Eakin Hall, Leo Rodriguez, Tiffany Taylor Wines, Tim Schutze, Mary Lynn Vaughan, Laura Worsham. Other Contributors $100+: Anonymous, Jason Spangler.
Warrior Basket donors included: Sally Santa Anna, Cindy Brinker Simmons, Brisa Renteria, Regina Bruce, Aubrey Connatser, the Kunthear Mam-Douglas and Scott Douglas family, Jenice Dunayer, Marilyn Ellis, Sadie Gray, Tammy Harkins, Gayle Horton, Rhonda Johnson, Shane Lashley, Jeanne Lewis, Ashley McDonough, Lynn McDonough, Phillippa Nierling, Therese Rourk, Dr. Carla Russo, Karee Sampson, Susan Sanford, Tiffany Taylor Wines, Jo Tiller, Doug Wood, and Laura Worsham.
Wipe Out Kids' Cancer's mission is to work relentlessly for a day when cancer is no longer a threat to any child. Less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer. Visit the website for more information about WOKC, joining the Guild to volunteer, or attending upcoming events, including the 40th Anniversary Gala on April 30, 2022, at www.wokc.org
About the WOKC Warrior Family Program: The Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer Warrior Family Program is comprised of children from these DFW area hospitals with pediatric oncology units: Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Cook Children’s, and Medical City Children’s Hospital. WOKC understands that cancer affects more than the child with the cancer diagnosis. This unique program focuses on supporting the entire family unit with fun events, parties, and excursions throughout the year.
An added benefit of the Warrior Family Program is that everyone involved can spend time with other families who are facing similar circumstances. Parents have commented that these WOKC family engagement programs are medicine for their soul.
Photos by Danny Campbell and Lisa Stewart