The Wichita Falls Cattle Baron's Ball raised more than $400,000 last Saturday night, according to Lee Ann Haines, chairman of the event which raises money to fight cancer. Haines said this year the organizers chose lung cancer research as the specific area to support because more people in Wichita County die every year from that form of cancer than any other.
"Fran Haines (her mother), Cyndi Schenk (her law partner) and I were thrilled to serve as co-chairmen this year. We've never even been on a committee connected with it before," Haines said.
Haines, who is a partner in the Wichita Falls law firm of Schenk, Schenk and Haines, further said that normally the chairmen are named the previous year. However, that didn't happen this time around.
"I let last year's chairmen Andrea Russell and Angela Stahler know I was interested in getting involved this year," Haines explained. "In January of 2013 Andrea Russell called me up and said, 'Let's go to dinner."'
"We did go to dinner and Andrea said, 'We want you to head up the whole thing,"' Haines added.
"I said sure. I can do that. Since neither Fran, nor Cyndi nor I had ever been involved in it before we had to start from scratch."
Starting from scratch turned out to be a great formula as this year's fundraiser broke several records.
"I hate to talk about numbers at this stage, because it'll be a month before we get the official results in. But I can safely estimate we raised between " $425,000 and $450,000 this year," she said.
Wow! Not bad for beginners.
"I know we broke the record for the biggest bid on one item. The artwork of hearts which was glazed over went for $50,000," the family law expert said.
A friend of the Cattle Baron's Ball made the generous contribution for the hearts artwork.
The experienced trial lawyer further said, "Kids whose family members had cancer painted the hearts. There were well over 100 hearts. I want to thank Betsy Edwards, Rachel Liles and Crinson Shults for overseeing the hearts project. They went down to San Antonio and got some ideas how other places handled their fundraisers. The Texas Oncology Department opened up the building for them one day."
"I'd like to also thank the ladies at the Last Straw for doing the decorating. It took a week to put it up, but we only had a day to take it down. I was up there yesterday, and I'm pretty tired today," Haines said explaining why she took the morning off from her demanding law practice in Wichita Falls, Texas.
She also said she'd like to thank John Burrus for being in charge of the site logistics. Haines further said Candace Pichoff did an excellent job as the chair of the auction committee.
Haines said Madelaine Eubanks and Cassie Harrison deserved recognition for the hard work they put in to help make the fundraiser a success. Reagan Nabors also deseves credit for her help, the Houston native said.
Haines also explained that lung cancer research had a special place in her heart since her dad died from the disease in November of 2012 after being diagnosed in the summer of 2012.
Generous underwriters included the Bryant Edwards Foundation, the J.S. Bridwell Foundation, Sabre Exploration, Inc., Michelob Ultra, Fain Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Danny Bartel and the Perkins-Prothro Foundation/ Diane and Mark Prothro.
Country and western stars Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan performed at the event which was a huge success in the fight against lung cancer. Bobby Rose and The Yellow Rose Band also participated.
Next year's chairmen will have a real challenge outdoing what Haines, Haines and Schenk did this year.
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