TSRHC’s signature event was started 20 years ago by a family with one goal – giving back.
On a crisp spring evening in 1996, Dallas residents Dee and Dodge Carter gathered close friends and family around their dining table with a mission in mind. They were exploring ways to give back to TSRHC’s Tuberous Sclerosis Complex clinic, where their daughter, Nicole, was being treated. That intimate brainstorming session led to a small gathering at the hospital later that year, where guests donated a “treasure” to be auctioned on behalf
of the clinic. Treasure Street was formed and would ultimately become the hospital’s signature fundraising event, benefiting all TSRHC patients. This year hospital friends, patients and staff celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary and perhaps the greatest treasure of all — the gift of gratitude.
October 23, 1993, a date Dee can rattle off like her phone number. It was the day 11-month-old Nicole was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), a rare genetic disorder that causes noncancerous (benign) tumors to form in the vital organs of the body, primarily the brain, heart, kidney, skin and lungs.
“We were at Children’s Medical Center when the doctor gave us the diagnosis,” Dee recalls. “He let us process it a little bit and then told us about the TSC clinic at Scottish Rite and said, ‘You need to get her over there.’ ”
Mauricio Delgado, M.D., TSRHC director of Neurology, founded the hospital’s TSC clinic in 1990, along with former Children’s and TSRHC neurologist E. Steve Roach, M.D. Although pediatric orthopedics is the specialty, TSRHC treats certain related neurological disorders. The hospital’s TSC clinic was one of the first clinics of its kind in the country and has served as a national model for those that followed.
“The complexity of this disorder led us to organize
a dedicated TSC clinic where we could gather relevant clinical information through a standardized approach,” explains Delgado, who became Nicole’s physician.
The clinic played a key role in creating a national database of TSC patients, which is overseen by a national organization called the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
The hospital’s TSC clinic also conducted a landmark study with the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, which isolated two causative genes associated with the condition.
“The financial support from Treasure Street played a critical role in our genetic testing,” says Steven Sparagana, M.D., who joined TSRHC in 1994 and became director of the TSC clinic in 2001. “Now we know the mechanism by which the disease occurs.”
In TSC, that mechanism is a mutation, or change, in one of two genes, TSC1 or TSC2. When either of these genes carries a mutation, it is unable to inform the body how to grow correctly, which affects proper development and function in children with TSC.
“This condition is complex and it exhibits differently in every patient,” Sparagana explains. “An accurate diagnosis is key and from there, finding a cure remains our ultimate goal.”
“There’s so much that we’ve come to know about the disease, but there’s still so much that is unknown,” Dodge explains. “There’s a huge level of comfort in knowing that you’re with the experts at Scottish Rite, because it’s not just the patients the hospital cares for, it’s the families as well.”
Funds from Treasure Street continue to meet the needs of the TSC clinic, in addition to supporting the hospital as a whole. Twenty years, thousands of guests and $11 million in gross proceeds later, the event has exceeded
“We never dreamed it would come this far,” Dee says. “We’re so grateful for the generosity of the community and our friends. The success of the event speaks to them, and to the hospital. It’s touched so many lives.”
The Carters explain that Treasure Street is a celebration of the hospital and those who support it, like Dee and Dodge’s parents.
“They’ve been with us from the beginning,” Dee says. Her mother, Bitsy, and father, Harold, a TSRHC trustee, are active on the Treasure Street board, as are Dodge’s parents, Margaret and Syd. Dee and Dodge are also grateful for the involvement of friends like longtime event board members Kammy and Andy Fleck.
“Part of the joy now is that we have a host committee that is comprised of our kids,” Dodge says. “So, the families involved in this event have gone full circle and now we’re establishing a foundation for the future.”
“It’s the little things we’re grateful for, too,” Dee says. “Nicole has never been afraid to go to Scottish Rite and that means so much, to bring your child to a place where they aren’t afraid to be.”
It’s that gratitude for the small things that has culminated in big things, like celebrating the 20th anniversary of Treasure Street this fall on Thursday, Oct. 15. There will be fabulous food, live music and, of course, treasures to bid on at both silent and live auctions. But as the Carters know firsthand, there are some treasures upon which you cannot put a price.
“What can you do for an institution like Scottish
Rite that does everything it can to help your child?” Dodge asks. “You can’t repay that. But our goal from the beginning has been to tell people about the hospital and it’s a story we feel blessed to tell.”
**This article was featured as the cover story of our Rite Up magazine.