The Elisa Project celebrated the twelfth year of its Life Lessons Luncheon on Friday, March 3, 2017 at The Belo Mansion. Co-chairs Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Melissa Rountree, with honorary chair Toni Muñoz-Hunt, were joined by more than 250 attendees at the annual fundraiser which featured two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan.
The celebration began on the evening of Thursday, March 2 at a reception hosted by Bachendorf’s Galleria Dallas. Sponsors and committee members mingled over cocktails and light bites as they shopped the salon’s beautiful collections, with 15% of sales benefiting The Elisa Project. Luncheon keynote speaker Nancy Kerrigan arrived and immediately immersed herself in the crowd, greeting patrons and posing for photos.
On Friday, March 3, attendees arrived for a pre-luncheon reception and an opportunity to bid on a curated selection of silent auction items. Nearby, sponsors, award recipients and special guests were treated to an intimate gathering with Ms. Kerrigan. At the appointed time, luncheon-goers moved to the ballroom for the much-anticipated luncheon.
As guests took their seats, executive director Kimberly Martinez welcomed everyone and extended her gratitude for their support of The Elisa Project and the Life Lessons Luncheon. Anthony Cueington then led the invocation before attendees enjoyed their salad of seasonal mixed greens with herb vinaigrette.
The Elisa Project board president Dr. Stephanie Setliff took the podium to recognize board members and sponsors, as well as co-chairs Chambers and Rountree, who then joined her onstage and accepted a gift of appreciation. The co-chairs added their thanks to all in attendance before asking honorary chair Muñoz-Hunt to join them on stage to present her with a special Hope Star pendant designed by jewelry designer Elizabeth Showers, a long-time supporter of The Elisa Project. Ms. Muñoz-Hunt gave brief remarks in support of The Elisa Project as a mom, model and founder of Model Behaviors, whose mission is to celebrate, love and support women through collaborations and the art of storytelling.
Dr. Setliff returned to share her personal involvement with organization as well as the history of The Elisa Project, which was founded by parents Leslie and Rick McCall in memory of their daughter Elisa, who lost her life to an eating disorder.
She then presented the 2017 Star of Hope Award to her colleague Dr. Andrew McGarrahan, an expert in eating disorders, and a former member of The Elisa Project’s board of directors. Throughout his career, Dr. McGarrahan’s guidance, wisdom and support have helped thousands of children and families heal from eating disorders. A second Star of Hope Award was presented as a surprise, to long-time supporter, The Elisa Project board member and event co-chair Rhonda Sargent Chambers, for her tireless efforts on behalf of the agency.
Ariana Luterman, a 17-year old junior at Greenhill School, received this year’s LEAD Award for her dedication to foster a community of concern and friendship among her fellow students at Greenhill that promotes the awareness of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Sponsored by The Elisa Project, LEAD Chapters stands for Learn, Empower, Accept and Discover, and is a student-led program dedicated to focusing on protective factors against disordered eating and eating disorders including: increasing confidence, leadership and self-esteem building, body image and healthy-living.
Attendees were then the first to view the organization’s new video, “Shining a Light on Eating Disorders,” which focuses on the agency’s mission of fighting against deadly eating disorders, by promoting the importance of healthy living, positive body image and self-esteem in all youth throughout Texas; through education, case management resources and advocacy efforts.
While attendees enjoyed a lunch of chicken chasseur, braised Thumbelina carrots and whipped potatoes, two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan took the stage. As one of America’s most recognizable sports icons, a new cast-member of Dancing with the Stars, and executive producer in an upcoming documentary about the connection between athletes and eating disorders, Kerrigan shared her own personal experiences with eating disorders, self-esteem and body image.
As the luncheon came to a close, attendees were gifted a commemorative candle from Dakota Blu Candle Co. in thanks for their support.
For more information about The Elisa Project, visit theelisaproject.org.