Event Date: April 29, 2023
Location: 713 Music Hall
Beneficiary: Houston Pediatric Cancer Research and Initiatives
No. of Attendees: 850 +
Money Raised: $1.600,000
Chairpersons: Elizabeth Fulghum, Melissa Hobbs, and Stephanie Morris
Emcee: Frank Billingsley
Presenting Sponsor: Sonic Automotive
Auctioneer: Johnny “Bravo” Holloway
Décor: Art Attack
Photography: Wilson Parish and Daniel Ortiz
VICTORY Rally Ball Blazed A Cure for Pediatric Cancer!
Seeing new organizations bring people together to raise money for a great cause is a beautiful and inspiring feeling. This was undoubtedly the case, as a group of 850 people sharing common interests in pediatric cancer research created a foundation and rallied together at 713 Music Hall downtown to raise $1.6 million, all of which stays in Houston, to support the organization’s efforts.
This inaugural gala, presented by Sonic Automotive, was chaired by Elizabeth Fulghum, Melissa Hobbs, and Stephanie Morris. They were welcomed on stage by Channel 2 weatherman and emcee Frank Billingsley, who had everyone smiling. Next, VICTORY President Joni Ballis asked guests to enjoy an emotional video filmed with original VICTORY members Judi Johnson, Gayle Bentsen, Glenda Nicholson, Karen Tellepsen, Cynthia Urquhart, Cyvia Wolff and Jessica Younger, who all shared their passion, dedication, resilience and impetus for joining the fight against cancer. The organization boasts 250 women who were part of VICTORY and are devoted to continuing their commitment.
The Pop Art-themed evening, designed and decorated by Art Attack, consisted of heavy bites from Churrascos, Las Vegas-style gaming, Tequila and Whiskey Tasting, Wine-Whiskey-Tequila pulls, two bands, caricature artists, costumed Candy Girls handing out candy and donuts, two main bars and a “blazing hot” dance floor.
Auctioneer Johnny “Bravo” Holloway, donning a gold sequined jacket, literally catapulted through the crowd during the live auction as guests competitively bid on coveted items such as a Steak 48 cocktail party for 100, dinner for 24 at the home of famed chef Johnny Carrabba and a private Master Class dance lesson with a Dancing with the Stars Mirrorball winner, Val or Maks Chmerkovskiy. The highlight was Sonic Automotive’s 2023 Ford F-150 King Ranch custom truck. The dealership surprised bidders by graciously providing a second truck! Each sold for $95,000, bringing the charity an additional $190,000!
Weeks before the event, VICTORY Houston, Inc. impacted the community by giving over $215,000 to medical institutions, thanks to a contribution given in memory of Bobbi Kirlin. These funds were an additional raise to the already $1.6 million mentioned earlier!
Another unique feature on display was the Tribute Wall, comprised of colored ribbons representing different cancers. As guests entered, cancer survivors could pull a ribbon, sign their name, and display the ribbon on the Tribute Wall as a sign of triumph over cancer.
Socially present (not previously mentioned): Jack Johnson, Zachary Isaacks, John Ballis, Kelli Fondren, Elaine Finger, Lloyd Bentsen III, Jeff Quisenberry, Ashley Dyke Parker and Chris Parker, Hallie Vanderhider, Bobby Dees, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Jerre Williams, Beth Wolff, Rob Hungate, Katie and Harry Cullen, Jr., Susie and Scott Bender, Brad and Joanna Marks, Sallie Morian and Michael Clark, Bebe and John Falik, Bonnie and Tom Horton, Camille and Steve Stanley, Robin and Danny Klaes, Kittsie Klaes and Davis Hance, Becky and Kelly Joy, Jackie and Monty Eubank and daughter Marissa Eubank, Robin and Donald Wayne, Joel Oppenheim, Tony and Laura Visage, Gregory Bopp, Jana Plummer, Elaine Balagia Croucher and Brant Croucher, Allison and Jack Jensen, Carol and Bill Lawler, Anne Neeson, Ana Ortiz and Dr. Lauren Colbert, Gigi and Russell Harbison, Lisa and Shaun McCoy, Cissy Abel, Kelli and Joe Gallegos, Dr. Mary Healy and Paul O’Sullivan, Sheryl Gussett and Phil Watts, Diane Cain, Roger Fulghum, Mark Hobbs, Chip Morris and many others