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Muscular Dystrophy Association's 10th Annual Passport to a Cure Gala

By Connie Kwan-Wong   |     Photography by Tori Palmer    |       Date: January 29, 2016 

Kroger was on set as it presented the 10th Annual Passport to a Cure Gala, benefiting Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center on Friday, January 29, 2016. The show stopping event welcomed 400 guests and raised $350,000 to help fund treatment and research for children and adults living with muscle diseases.

The event was themed "MDA's Casting Call" and it began with a reception including cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, silent auction, and entertainment from J&D Entertainment, which provided themed actors and an animated T-Rex from Dynamic Dynos all on a Hollywood back lot with décor by Let It Fly Events. Guests chose a role with the live-sized movie props and a star-studded photo booth. Running the show was Emcee Rachel McNeil of KPRC, who welcomed guests into the grand ballroom, and benefit auctioneer, Jay Fiske. Guests enjoyed a dinner fit for a movie star, which included a winter fruit salad, roasted tenderloin, jumbo shrimp, herb risotto, jumbo asparagus and demi glace. 

Jerry Lewis made a surprise appearance via video streaming, as the Passport to a Cure Gala coincided with the national launch of MDA's new branding at Carnegie Hall in New York City. One of the main attractions of the evening was the live auction featuring travel and sports packages, priceless MDA camper artwork, and two unique donut towers created by MDA kids with the help of Hugs and Donuts chef and owner, Matt Opaleski. Mentalist, Oz Pearlman from America's Got Talent stole the show with an interactive performance.

Rick Esser with CITGO Petroleum Corporation was presented a very special piece of art from MDA's national art collection in honor of their 30 years of service and dedication to MDA. The collection was started in 1992 to focus attention to achievements of artists with disabilities. This was the first time MDA has taken a piece from the art collection, but felt it was the greatest way to honor such an important partnership as the one between MDA and CITGO Petroleum Corporation. 

Star-studded sponsors of the gala included Kroger, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Glazer's, Republic National Distributing Company, Silver Eagle Distributors, Anheuser Busch, Borden, Goldman Sachs, Oak Farms Dairy, Houston Methodist, Wonderful Citrus, and Simply Wonderful Sushi. The talent joining the cast included: Dr Pepper, PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola, Bimbo Bakeries USA, California Resources, Mission Foods, Boar's Head, Regency Centers, International Association of Fire Fighters, Texas Children's Hospital, Ernst Family, Protiviti, Grant Thornton, Sarepta, AMS Vans, and NewQuest.


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