Unmasked Gala Receives Rave Reviews and Raises $540,000

Posted on Mar 1, 2018

Wonders & Worries held their fourth annual Unmasked Gala on Feb. 23, 2018 to rave reviews and record-breaking fundraising

To learn more, view the event photos on Flickr and read the press release.

Floral peacock by Texas Flower Girl. Photo credit: Ben Porter

All told, the event raised $540,000 for Wonders & Worries, the highest amount for a gala in the organization’s 16-year history, and nearly $100,000 more than in 2017.

The top ballroom of the JW Marriott Austin buzzed with the hum of a sold-out crowd of 500, bedecked in feathers and masks, taking selfies with larger-than-life floral peacocks designed by The Flower Girl.

Texas Oncology served as presenting sponsor for the fourth year.

Mary Beth Hunt, Katherine Ross, Harry Goss, Dru Brown, Dan Patterson and Dawn Patterson. Photo credit: Chrissy Kennedy

The number of attendees reflected Wonders & Worries’ expansion not only to new locations, but also new social circles.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Brannon Hyde, MD, co-chair of the event with his wife Kelly Hyde, alluded to this, “I see many faces from the medical community here tonight, and I hope we continue to embrace this organization. Wonders & Worries provides the emotional and mental health support our patients and their children need to experience healing for the whole family.”

Rapt Aerial Dancer Maya Teresa Kaough. Photo credit: Ben Porter

Highlights included:

  • Rapt Aerial Dancers performing on silks from the ceiling during dinner
  • The deeply personal video and remarks by the Patton-Goldsmith family on their experience as Wonders & Worries clients
  • Heath Hale and his Cowboy Auctioneers leading a live auction bidding war for a private, backyard concert with Drew Womack, accompanied by a side of Franklin Barbeque and Deep Eddy Vodka
  • Former Longhorn football player Rod Babers serving as emcee
  • DJ Gatsby’s after party with coffee shots and peacock color-coordinated donuts.

Clients Kristen Patton and son Clayton Goldsmith. Photo credit: Chrissy Kennedy

The mystery of why the event is called the “Unmasked” Gala emerged as well. It comes from an activity that Wonders & Worries’ child life staff created with teenagers. Each teen receives a blank mask and decorates the exterior based on how they represent themselves to the world, while decorating the inside with things they worry about, fear and keep private.

By coming to Wonders & Worries, children and teens have an opportunity to explore hidden emotions and have a safe space to process them with trusted adults. Unmasking feelings helps with coping.

Kim Fryar, Deanna Smith and Michele Martin. Photo credit: Chrissy Kennedy

“Tonight is a testament to the resiliency of children and teenagers and parents,” said Alex Gabbi, executive director, Wonders & Worries. “Your donations take us one step closer to every child thriving, despite a parent’s illness.”

To learn more, view the event photos on Flickr, watch the Patton-Goldsmith video and read the press release.

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