Celebration of Life Luncheon 2016 - Fighting Metastatic Breast Cancer

The 18th annual Celebration of Life Luncheon was co-hosted by the Austin Alumnae Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha and the Seton Breast Care Center.  The luncheon was held at the grand and luxurious JW Marriott, a presenting sponsor, in downtown Austin.

The remarkable event ​​​​​celebrated the Art of Fashion and remembers those fighting Metastatic Breast Cancer.   Approximately 600 people attended the Lone Star Ballroom at the JW Marriott on March 29.  The prodigious occasion raised more than a quarter million dollars to benefit the Seton Breast Care Center special projects and programs (80%), and the ZTA Foundation to support national breast cancer awareness and education (20%).

Neiman Marcus one of the presenting sponsors, unveiled its 2016 Spring/Summer collection and presented “The Art of Fashion ” and hosted six haute courtier fashion scenes including Confident Reds, Black and White, Denim Everything, Neutrals, Bold Stripes and Boho Chic.   Featured designers included Brunello Cucinelli, Lela Rose, Etro, Alice & Olivia, Isabel Marant, Derek Lam, Milly, Jimmy Choo, and Christian Louboutin.  Models wore beautiful jewelry by Lisa Salzer from Lulu Frost.

The ‘Lead Sponsor” of the event was “Fiat Alfa Romeo of Austin” which held a raffle consisting of a beautiful 2015 Fiat 500 POP.   Melinda Wolf of Fiat Alfa Romeo announced the name of the lucky winner, Cathy Olson Muth.

More than 200 survivors, thrivers, fighters, and lifers of breast cancer representing all ages and stages of breast cancer were recognized.

Cancer Survivors talked to LA Splash Magazine.- 

Courtney Bax said .- "It's always emotional, but inspiring to attend an event with other women who have or have had breast cancer. I'm  so thankful that they included Holley's life and legacy in their presentation, as well as the need for increased funds for research into treating metastatic breast cancer."

Nuri vallbona said .- “I appreciate the work being done by the Zeta Tau Alpha women and their luncheon. Raising awareness saved my life and the work they do with the Seton Breast Center means so much to cancer survivors. It was nice to connect with other survivors at the luncheon and hear their inspiring stories. I applaud the work these women are doing and as a survivor am very grateful for their efforts.”

Beverly Beil Newsom said.- “As a committee member for this year's event , I want to stress awareness and how important it is to follow up on your yearly mammograms. I am thrilled about the turnout and the enthusiasm that is felt at the Celebration of Life Event every year.”


Celebration of Life video honored those who fight and have lost their battles to metastatic breast cancer, including Renee Linke Sendelbach, currently fighting the disease, and two women who attended last year’s event but passed away within the last several months: Holley Rothell Kitchen (age 43), Amber Gillespie (age 31). The video featured friends of Holley and Amber who remember their courage and honesty about their battles with metastatic breast cancer, a terminal form of breast cancer that is largely ignored, and the impact they have made on breast cancer awareness and the importance of finding a CURE.

Kendra Scott pop-up shop donated 20% of its proceeds and Lizabeth Jewelry donated 50%.  Twin Liquors donated 50 bottles of bubbly for the “cork pull.” Pink and champagne centerpieces designed by David Kurio.


Terri Gruca, KVUE News Anchor, conducted the event.  Terri has been personally touched by breast cancer; her sister and mother are survivors. Recognition of event honorary chairs: Mary Ann Heller, Donna Stockton Hicks and Patti Rogers and event chairs: Reenie Collins, Cynthia Harkness, Marcia Levy and Susan Lubin.


The event chair Cynthia Harkness said during the event, “This cause is more than a pretty pink ribbon.  There are real women, young women, who need the support of each other and a place like the Seton Breast Care Center.  Every woman needs to regularly do a self examination and have an annual mammogram!”  

Kate Henderson the President of Seton Medical Center Austin also thanked the supporters, “Thanks for considerably support and continued support, through your generosity and your advocacy of this work we are able to provide this amazing care to all of the women of Central Texas.”

Celebration of Life Luncheon additional sponsors:

The Designer Sponsors: Sandra Aragona, Dr. Elisabeth Potter, Paula Boon/ Boon Group, Brooke Nichols with Saving Face.

Fashionista Sponsors: H-E-B, Rallywood INC, Austin Gastroenterology, Amanda Poses, Nancy Zimmerman and Valerie Newberg.

Celebration Sponsors: The Mrs, Eva Womack, Aspyr Media Inc, Cain Foundation, JoDeane Bradford, David kurio Designs, Inc, Everything but the House, Dr. Debra Patt with Texas Oncology, Kathy and Steve Papermaster in honor of Gail Papermaster and The Breast Cancer Resource Center/ BCRC

Recognition of Zeta Tau Alpha national president, Caroline Hof Carpenter, and two former National Presidents, Nan Boettcher and Laura Mauro (all Austin residents)


Seton Breast Care Center:

The Seton Breast Care Center (BCC) opened in February 2014 with a conservative goal of 90 patients within the first 90 days. That goal was far exceeded as 592 patients visited the Center during that time period.  In just over two years, the Seton Breast Care Center has provided care to over 5,000 patients and performed more than 7,500 services including bone density scans, 3D mammography, stereotactic breast biopsies, breast sonography and breast 3T MRI's.

More than 600 women have been guided through their care by a nurse navigator - and 30% of services are provided to financially vulnerable women without insurance.

These services are key to early detection and better outcomes - 99% of women survive breast cancer when it is detected and treated during the earliest stage of the disease, making the services here at the Seton Breast Care Center true lifesavers.

The center includes relaxing spa like lounges and waiting rooms as well as private dressing rooms with comfy warm robes.

Seton Breast Care Center also has available the following services: Access to community events, Dietary counseling, postoperative exercise classes, preoperative education classes, psychological counseling, support groups and yoga classes.

The center also has a Breast Care Center Boutique with a 30% off of your total purchase such as Chemo Caps, post mastectomy care, inspirational gifts and more.

Do you want to schedule a mammogram or any of the other services?  Please call 512-324-1025. Walk-ins for mammogram screenings and bone density scans are welcome. Seton Breast Care Center is located inside Seton Medical Center Austin on the first floor of the west tower. 1201 West 38th Street, Austin, TX 78705.

The cancers that most often affect women are breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin, and ovarian cancers. Knowing about these diseases and what you can do may save your life.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that women may face in their lifetime. It may occur at any age, but it is much more likely after age of 40 and the risk goes up as you get older. Every woman should know about breast cancer and what can be done about it. The best defense against cancer: Early detection, finding a cancer early, before it has spread gives the best chance to do something about it.  Knowing what to do may save your life.

Follow Yenis Monterrey (Writer) @Foxactress

Follow LA Splash Magazine @SplashMagWW

Photos by John Gutierrez Photography 

Video Courtesy of Seton Breast Care Center and the ZTA Foundation by Fat Cat Productions.

Follow Seton Breast Care Center 

Follow Austin Alumnae Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha @ZTAFraternity Facebook

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