On October 14, more than 600 people attended the Ninth Annual Nancy Owens Memorial Foundation (NOMF) Luncheon at The Westin Galleria. This was a very successful luncheon, enabling the foundation to impact the community with energy and enthusiasm and raise awareness about breast cancer. 

Click here to see photos from the event.

At the luncheon, the foundation donated $100,000 equally divided among the Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). Eileen Campbell, President of the Board of Directors for the Komen Houston Affiliate and Dr. Thomas Westbrook from the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at BCM accepted the generous check on behalf of their organizations. This brings the grand total of monies donated by the foundation from 2002 through 2010 to $940,000! 

The luncheon opened with a commemorative video, which celebrated the life of Nancy Owens and the continued success of the foundation that was created in Owens’ name and honor.  Vocalist Leigh Shipman performed a beautiful rendition of the song, “Call the Man,” while accompanied by pianist Alan Sexton as the video played.

Amy Bernstein, Chairwoman of NOMF, spoke about the foundation’s continued commitment to raising additional funds throughout the year through the Foundation’s First Annual Golf Tournament, Pink & Blue Jean Day and Cocktails for the Cure. 

The foundation is extremely fortunate to have community-wide support and during the luncheon, Bernstein gave several accolades. The foundation is particularly grateful to Mike Huff with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Anderson Properties for his generosity in creating the new Diamond level sponsorship (a $15,000 contribution) this year. Bernstein also thanked Jennifer Hernandez at Patriot Bank Mortgage who generously donated at the Platinum level (a $10,000 contribution). The foundation is also appreciative of the Houston Chronicle, the Media Sponsor and to the Houston Association of REALTORS®, the Professional Sponsor, for their continued support.

This year, the foundation presented sixteen companies with the “Spirit of Giving Award” to honor contributors who have shown philanthropic commitment to the foundation with each company giving more than $20,000 over the past eight years. The recipients included Alamo Title Company – Post Oak & San Felipe, Bernstein Realty, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate – Anderson Properties, Chicago Title Insurance Company, Fidelity Title Company, Greenwood King Properties, Heritage Texas Properties, Houston Association of REALTORS®, Houston Chronicle, John Daugherty, Realtors, Katherine Stewart, Mark Cady with Flagstone Lending, Maxine Myers, Old Republic Title Company of Houston, Patriot Bank and Stewart Title. 

In May, the foundation held its first annual “Swing for the Cure” Golf Tournament at Sweetwater Country Club raising over $10,000. In June, the foundation held its annual “Pink & Blue Jean Day,” where friends, families, real estate, title, and mortgage companies came together to raise over $7,000. Participants later gathered for “Cocktails for the Cure,” at Goode’s Armadillo Palace where entertainment was donated by the Big Al Bettis Band. 

The guest speaker for the luncheon was Allen Wilson. As a two-time male breast cancer survivor, Allen’s mission is very clear: to disseminate that this is not “just a girl’s club” and that the breast cancer battle is one of early detection, perseverance and hope! Allen comes to the foundation by way of the Houston Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. There he serves on the local board and has been one of the leading personal fundraisers for the past seven years. Additionally, he is currently a Commercial Insurance Broker and the Senior Vice President at GEM Insurance here in Houston.  

The foundation is thrilled to have cultivated a relationship with BCM, and Thomas Westbrook, Ph.D., provided the annual “Update from the Lab” for luncheon guests. Dr. Westbrook’s laboratory develops and applies genome-technology enabling researchers to rapidly test the functional role of all genes in human cancers, thus replacing the traditional one-gene-at-a-time approach. 

Thomas Westbrook, Ph.D. at BCM will receive half of the 2010 proceeds for his genome-technology research. Pilot studies employing this technology have identified genes that breast cancer cells depend on for their aggressive behavior, and have shown that inhibiting these genes severely impairs breast cancer progression. This ground-breaking approach is paving the way to the next generation of treatment for breast cancer, moving toward truly personalized medicine for every patient.

Another highlight at this year’s luncheon was the presentation of the “Nancy Owens Spirit of Courage Award,” which reflects the courage of an extraordinary individual in the community who has fought the battle against cancer and won. This year’s award was presented to Mary Parker. Mary, very much humbled by this honor, spoke briefly about her personal journey as a breast cancer survivor and thanked all her family and friends who guided her through the journey. Mary received a beautiful Waterford Guardian Angel. Two of the past award recipients, Sharon Dreyer and Nancy Elizabeth Garfield, were in attendance.

At the conclusion, Amy Bernstein asked all breast cancer survivors, cancer survivors, and individuals touched by cancer to stand as the foundation’s own “Stand Up to Cancer” tribute to the fact that we will find a cure.
Attendees had several opportunities to support the foundation by purchasing raffle tickets, bidding on silent auction items, purchasing pink pashminas, and buying umbrellas with the NOMF logo or remembrance ribbon engraved business card holders. A very special thank you was given to those who generously donated items and their services.

The Nancy Owens Memorial Foundation was created in memory of Nancy Owens, a much loved and well respected icon in the Houston real estate industry. Owens lost her courageous 20-year battle with breast cancer in September 2001. One of Owens’ final wishes, if she had survived her battle with cancer, was to dedicate a large part of her life to the fight against breast cancer and the continued advancement of its research towards finding a cure. It is that very dream that lives on today.

The foundation’s planning committee is made up of Nancy’s close friends, whose tireless efforts, dedication and love of Nancy has been the driving force behind the success of the foundation. The committee members are: Amy Bernstein, Brent Blaikie, Cheri Fama, Debera Fontenot, Gail Evans, Gloria Moorman, Irby Rozelle, Katherine Stewart, Kimberly Davis, Lynn Mather, Mary Piper, Mariella Massa, Peggie Kohnert, Robin Mueck, Terri Guerra, and Vicki Fullerton.  

The Nancy Owens Memorial Foundation exemplifies how professionals in all aspects of the community can band together for a common cause and make a difference! For more information or to make a donation, please call 713-932-1032 ext. 155 or visit www.NancyOwens.org.