Unmasked Gala 2019 a Huge Success!

Posted on Feb 26, 2019

On Feb. 22, the Austin community made the fifth annual Unmasked Gala sponsored by Texas Oncology a huge success!

Led by emcee Jenni Lee of KVUE-TV, the sold-out crowd generated more than $670,000 to help children and teens cope with a parent’s serious illness. The event broke attendance and fundraising records for Wonders & Worries.

Venetian Carnival characters roamed the event | photo credit: Circus Picnic

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve this organization, and both humbled and excited by the strong participation from Austin’s high-tech and medical communities this year. Thank you to all the generous guests who give.”

-Kristen Patton & Steve Goldsmith, 2019 Chairs


As masked attendees arrived, they walked a live red carpet, pausing to gaze up at a 12-foot stilted gondolier, sip bubbly from a champagne dress and take selfies in front of a 5-foot floral mask.

Guest Aleida Guerra with the Jester

The trio Cienfuegos played in the VIP area while all guests considered raffle packages including a stay at The Four Seasons Nevis, access to the exclusive RM Sotheby’s 40th anniversary party, and passes to an upcoming Austin City Limits TV taping.

Wonders & Worries Works

Alex Gabbi, executive director, led off the night sharing the preliminary results of the clinical research trial conducted on Wonders & Worries’ patented curriculum with the University of Texas. “In a word, our program works! And we can prove it.”

Lead researchers Dr. Farya Phillips and Dr. Elizabeth Prezio were in attendance.

In Their Own Words

A highlight of the evening was the Neff family sharing their personal story. Kristy is a pediatric nurse practitioner and her husband Phil is a pediatric oncologist. But they still needed help talking to their kids, Ella (16) and Alex (12), when Kristy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  WATCH THEIR VIDEO.

Live Auction & Paddles Up

photo credit: Cowboy Auctioneers

Heath Hale and the Cowboy Auctioneers whipped the crowd to a giving frenzy, bringing in more than $385,000 between live auction and paddles up. Auction packages included a trip to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga, a romantic week in Maui, a crawfish boil with Drew Womack and an adorable 12-week-old Bernedoodle that found a forever home.

Making it Bear-able

Guest Marc Swendner and his bear | cr: penney berryman

New this year, at the end of the night, guests could exchange their paddle for a $100 donation and receive a teddy bear. Each bear wore a hand-sewn hospital gown and came with a digital thermometer donated by Kinsa. All 50 bears sold out in minutes.

‘We will, together’ is more than a tagline.” – Alex Gabbi

Read the press release

Official photos forthcoming on Flickr

Questions? Contact Penney Berryman at 512-638-5262 or [email protected].

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