Cattle Baron’s Ball: Fighting Cancer in the Brazos Valley

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By Rachel Knight

At the age of 40, Kim Varner, the 2017 Brazos County Cattle Baron’s Ball event chair, sat anxiously waiting for the results of her first mammogram. As somebody who works in the healthcare system for CHI St. Joseph, Varner was concerned when a follow-up mammogram was scheduled after a dark spot was found on the first. The next day, she returned to have her results reread. The verdict for Varner: benign.

Varner’s personal confrontation with cancer was short, but cancer runs in her family, and many of her loved ones were not so lucky. As a result, Varner has a unique perspective on her role in fighting the disease.

Today, Varner is working to bring the Brazos Valley together in the fight against cancer at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. Proceeds from the Cattle Baron’s Ball go to the American Cancer Society, providing members of the Brazos Valley an opportunity to join the fight.

“It was a blessing in that it wasn’t [cancer], but also that it put things into perspective,” Varner says about her personal confrontation with cancer. “It just kind of made me want to be more aware, or just offer support, raise funds, whatever I could do for those who don’t have that benign diagnosis.”

With more than 600 people expected to attend the 2017 Brazos County Cattle Baron’s Ball, Varner won’t be alone in standing up to cancer when the event kicks off on Oct. 14 at the Silver Horse Ranch.

“It’s one of the premier events that happens each year,” Varner says. “It’s a night out, but it’s doing good in supporting local community cancer survivors, cancer patients.”

Money raised at the Cattle Baron’s Ball is put to work in the Brazos Valley’s fight against cancer. Proceeds help fund both Texas A&M University’s researchers in College Station as well as local programs through ACS that provide education about the disease and treatment, rides to and from treatment, solutions for appearance-related treatment side effects, care organizing tools, and one-on-one support.

According to Varner, CHI St. Joseph, Baylor Scott & White, and The Med referred more than 245 patients from Brazos County alone to the ACS in 2016. In addition to helping patients, ACS also helps educate patient caregivers about their loved one’s disease.

The evening of the 2017 Brazos County Cattle Baron’s Ball is sure to dazzle guests with its rhinestone rodeo theme. Rich jewel tones will set the scene, chandeliers will give the venue a little extra sparkle, and guests will have the opportunity to hear Texas country artist Rich O’Toole perform live.

Guests can also pay extra to participate in a casino for the chance to win a prize from Montelongo’s Fine Jewelry; play Chicken Poop Bingo; open fire in a skeet shooting game; try their hand in a Sabi Boutique sponsored $75 Kendra Scott jewelry pull; and open possibilities in a $25 wine pull. Other opportunities for entertainment include a mechanical bull and a selfie photo booth.

Both live and silent auctions will take place at the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Items in the auctions include four NASCAR tickets to the three-day World Truck Series, two Eric Church concert tickets with a night at a hotel included, a custom Louis Vuitton handbag, custom boots from Junk Gypsy, and more.

With a bigger venue, glitzier theme, and countless volunteer hours, the Cattle Baron’s Ball goal is to to raise $85,000 this year.

“Twenty five dollars provides free 24-7 access to information and support for cancer patients,” says Varner. “Fifty dollars provides Roads to Recovery. Five hundred dollars provides five free nights lodging at [ACS’s] Hope Lodge located in Houston or Lubbock.”

Participating in the Brazos County Cattle Baron’s Ball not only provides funding for the ACS, it helps make cancer patients and their caregivers’ lives a little less stressful.

“Cancer does not discriminate and is an equal opportunity offender to us all,” Varner says. “I would dare say that everyone has known someone in their life affected by this disease.”