It isn’t everyday that parents raising children with Autism get to have a night out, especially not all together in one place with none other than the original Warrior Mom herself - Jenny McCarthy! The Warrior Parents of Dallas are a dedicated group, though, so it shouldn’t be surprising that countless Warrior Parents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (plus many of their friends, family members, and children’s therapists, doctors and teachers) showed up in force -300+ attendees - for the first annual Dallas Rocks Against Autism. The event was designed to benefit 3 important organizations: EBCALA (Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy); the Warrior Parents of Dallas Benevolent Fund; and Brains for Autism a foundation associated with UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Event Chairperson, Mary Jaminet, a true Warrior Mom, spent months organizing this event with special guests Jenny McCarthy and Generation Rescue Executive Director Candace McDonald. The event also welcomed Honorary Chairpersons: Dawn and Ryan Neufeld; Randy Redmond; and Craig Whitson.
2616 Commerce Street Place in Dallas was the perfect venue for the event with brilliant blue lighting, antique bar, stage, plus auction, shopping and VIP areas. Concert attendees rocked to 70’s and 80’s tunes performed by Osage and The Compulsive Jam Band while sampling delightful hors d'oeuvres from Chef Douglas Brown, voted best caterer in 2010 by D Magazine. Comedic troupe Shoes for the Dead and comedian David Jessup left the crowd laughing out loud.
Debra Caudy, with Brains for Autism, summarized the Autism Research being done at UT Southwestern. Maureen Bordelon, Dallas-area Warrior Mom, spoke on behalf of EBCALA and won the hearts of the crowd by sharing her family’s personal story including the near-death experience her son, Jonathan, endured in a public school in 2010 when Jonathan was illegally restrained and thereafter nearly choked to death. With facilitation from EBCALA and fellow warrior mom, Jennifer Keefe and Patton Boggs LLP, the Bordelon family resolved the dispute and their son is now doing extremely well being home schooled.
When Jenny McCarthy and Candace McDonald moved the “photos with Jenny” line to Jinger Rosales-Fergus’ table where she was raising funds to buy a service dog for her son Charlie, hearts were won! Jenny simply asked event guests to pitch in as little as $1 for Charlie’s dog – to help with his seizure disorder – before snapping a shot to remember. With nearly $1000 raised thanks to Jenny’s thoughtful gesture, and more promised directly from Jenny herself, Jinger will be forever grateful!
Both the silent and live auctions were successful thanks to the many generous donations of over 20 sponsors: Patton Boggs LLP; 2616 Commerce Street Place; CCI; Chain Gang Band; Compulsive Jam Band; Sergio Delgado; Chef Douglas Brown – Beyond the Box; Christy Edwards – Gold Canyon Candles; Jack Greenway; Hail Merry; Kristi Hammer; Hopebrand; Jam Sports & Entertainment, LLC; Liz James Designs; Juli M. Jordan, J.D.; Lisa & Peter Kraus; Julie R. Liberman, M.A., CCC-SLP; Living Well Dallas; Osage; Premier Transportation; Red Moon Guitar/Oklahoma Vintage Guitar; Drs. Greg & Wendy Skulman; Ticketmaster, Walker Creative; Jana Water; and Whole Child Wellness – Dr. Amber Books.
What an event to remember; many Warrior Parents of Dallas are already talking about how awesome future Dallas Rocks Against Autism Benefit Concerts will be!
Did you miss the concert Saturday but would like a t-shirt to support the cause? Many, many thanks to HopeBrand for donating the proceeds of these super cool shirts. Get one today!
Leigh Attaway Wilcox is Assistant Editor of the internationally acclaimed AutismSpot.com and is the author of ALL BETTER: A Touch-and-Heal Book published by Piggy Toes Press in 2007. Leigh lives in North Texas with her husband and young son who loves reading, LEGOs, Mario Bros. and also happens to live with Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Contact her here!