Couture for Children's: Fashion show will benefit Children's Medical Center
When Mackinlee Waddell was 5 years old, she needed open-heart surgery for dilated cardiomyopathy, a congenital heart defect that caused the mitral valve of her heart to leak severely.
Waddell underwent a valvuoplasty, a procedure in which a ring was placed around the valve to stop leaking, at Children's Medical Center Dallas. The surgery was a success.
While childhood surgery can be a traumatizing experience, Waddell, now 17 and living in Celina, said hospital staff made the stay a "fond memory."
"They made it easier for me as a 5-year-old to understand what was going on, and they made me want to be at the hospital," she said. "They were just so accommodating to me as a 5-year-old and I actually liked going to the hospital, so as a 6-year-old, and after I had already had my surgery, I wanted to go back because I had so much fun."
On March 26, Waddell will share her story at J.C. Penney's corporate headquarters in Plano for "Legacy of Love," a fashion show and raffle benefitting Children's Plano Legacy campus.
"I'm just going to talk through my story, and hopefully touch some people's hearts and share with them how big of a part this hospital played in my life, and hopefully inspire them to donate and help Children's Medical Center also," she said.
All proceeds from the event, including ticket sales and raffle items, will go to the hospital. Raffle ticket holders will have a chance to win prizes from designers such as Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg.
The fashion show will feature more than 40 outfits from J.C. Penney. Joe Mimran, the mastermind behind the store's Joe Fresh line, will be in attendance to show off his line, and Steve Kemble, host of 103.7 Lite FM's fashion segment and US Weekly columnist, will emcee the event.
Susan Spindler, event chair of the Women's Auxiliary to Children's Medical Center Legacy Chapter, said the event started as a simple luncheon but expanded after a chance meeting with Wendy Engibous, whose husband Thomas is chairman of J.C. Penney's board of directors.
"Our main goal was to raise awareness of the Plano campus, because a lot of people in North Texas don't even know it exists, to increase membership to our auxiliary and let people know that we're here, to fundraise and to celebrate Children's Medical Center's 100th year," she said.
The event will be held in the J.C. Penney corporate ballroom, with the event staging and layout designed by an out-of-state production company.
"We have a big production company coming, and the reception before the fashion show is going to be held with drinks and food in the big rotunda, which is just gorgeous, and then from there we'll proceed into the ballroom for the program and the fashion show, and after that there will be coffee and deserts," Spindler said.
Tickets for the event are $100, and seats are going fast. Spindler said more than half of the tickets have been sold, leaving only 200 seats available as of press time. Sponsorships alone have already eclipsed the event's $100,000 goal.
"We had a sponsorship party for all our sponsors," she said. "It was so exciting. The people at Children's Medical Center said in 15 years, we have not had a party like that, because everyone is so supportive and so excited about this event. It had electricity. That's what I want at this event, and I think that's what we'll get, because everyone's so excited about it."
Waddell, meanwhile, continues to be active in sports and acting, scoring a role on CBS' prime-time comedy-drama, GCB. It was speaking engagements to help Children's raise money that she credits to discovering her love of acting.
"I can't tell you how much I love this hospital and how much I enjoy doing things for this hospital, because not only is it beneficial to the hospital, but it's beneficial to me as a person because I just feel so good about myself after doing things like this, because I know that what I'm doing is going to help someone somewhere," she said. "It's one of my favorite things to do."
To purchase tickets or to volunteer for the Legacy of Love event, visit childrensauxiliary.org/legacyoflove. For sponsorship information, contact Rebecca Egelston-Caso at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-707-6052.
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