More than 600 supporters helped raise almost $1 million Oct. 13 for the American Cancer Society. Arkansas Men's Basketball Coach Eric Musselman and wife Danyelle Musselman, who is the co-chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer Wives and Friends committee, were chairmen of the third annual Suits & Sneakers Gala NWA.
"For more than 25 years, Coaches vs. Cancer, in collaboration with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has united coaches and fans nationwide to help ACS with fundraising and education initiatives," organizers say. The group has raised more than $110 million for ACS since 1993, and this year's $1 million was a record for a single event.
"The goal of the Suits & Sneakers Gala is to raise funds to support breast cancer research, services, awareness, prevention efforts and access to care. Funds raised at this year's event will be used to fund lodging and transportation grants across the state of Arkansas."
Julie Barber, executive vice president of General Merchandising at Walmart, was this year's gala guest of honor.
Mission Moment remarks came from Abigail Wells, a cancer survivor. "So here's my story and fragments of other survivors' and fighters' stories intertwined in between. All in the form of spoken word," she told those gathered. "When I was in the hospital, I wrote a poem that depicts the feelings during diagnosis from the perspective of cancer. The poem is titled 'Choosing to Fight.'"
Auria was named this year's ACS Game Changer Award honoree. Auria is an at-home test that "uses biomarkers in tears to catch any breast abnormalities," according to its website. The award was accepted by Omid Moghadam, CEO of Namida Lab Inc., which developed the test here in Northwest Arkansas.
Living up to its theme, "Courtside Couture: Where fashion and sports collide," the gala included a Courtside Couture Fashion Show featuring a mix of cancer survivors, members of the men's and women's Razorback basketball programs and the Musselmans sporting looks from Violet's, 33.9, Hype NWA, Thistle Florals and INTERFORM. Fashions from INTERFORM designers were couture pieces created from NBA jerseys of former Razorbacks "to bridge the worlds of sport and fashion."
Save the date for Suits & Sneakers 2024 set for Oct. 11.
Suits and Sneakers sponsors included Athletes Advantage Financial as National Championship Sponsor; Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Tournament Sponsor; and Tito's, the Tyson Family Foundation and Walmart|Sam's Club as presenting sponsors.
For more event photos -- nwaonline.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].
At a Glance - Suits & Sneakers Gala
Who: American Cancer Society
What: Arkansas Mens Basketball Coach Eric Musselman and wife Danyelle Musselman were chairmen of the benefit.
When: Oct. 13
Where: Fayetteville Town Center
Next: Suits & Sneakers 2024, Oct. 11
Information: (479) 273-3172