Presenting sponsor LyondellBasell contributed $100,000 toward event expenses. More than 30 Boot Walk sponsors in 2017 helped offset event expenses, allowing all moneys raised by participants' peer-to-peer fundraising efforts to support the institution's mission to end cancer. This model inspired many of the top 10 fundraisers and teams to achieve record-breaking totals.
To recognize these stellar efforts, Boot Walk planners enlisted the help of professional and amateur artists to volunteer their time to create unique awards from boots donated by Boot Barn, a sponsor of the Boot Walk.
The artists came up with an array of imaginative themes for each award, some marking historic highlights such as the "Houston Strong" Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and the Houston Astros’ World Series championship. Other one-of-a-kind creations sport whimsical cats and dogs, stars, butterflies, flowers and more.
Pet portrait artist Kermit Eisenhut, whose father and aunt died of cancer, created three colorful boots, each with an animal theme.
"I want to make people feel good and forget about their troubles," he says. "Designing these boots is my small way of thanking the walkers for raising money to help find a cure for cancer."
The Boot Awards were presented at an MD Anderson appreciation event in February that honored the top fundraisers and top fundraising teams. Several of the artists attended this event to assist in presenting their boot award creation to the honorees.
MD Anderson patients and family members, volunteers, friends, faculty and staff and sponsors are gearing up for the third annual Boot Walk to End Cancer on Saturday, Nov. 10. Registration is open for the 1.2-mile walk, and participants are determined to surpass the amount raised in 2017.
"We look forward to another successful event to support MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer," says Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. "The Boot Walk is a wonderful opportunity to bring together all of us who have been touched by cancer for a fun, upbeat day that focuses on our goal of Making Cancer History."
Ashley and Lance Loeffler, 2018 co-chairs, see the event as a unique way to contribute to the fight against cancer.
"MD Anderson is so special to us," Ashley says. "We have many friends and family members who have had cancer, and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to give back to a place that has given so much to so many."