2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees from Left to Right:
Dr. Sippi Khurana, Elaine Turner, Alden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott, Jindi Vincent (former President ofThe Women’s Energy Network)
Late on the sunny morning of Friday June 5, 280 guests gathered at the Houstonian Hotel for our 2015 WholeLife Luncheon featuring author Carine McCandless. Emceed by The Women’s Home Advisory Board Member and Great Day Houston Host Deborah Duncan, the luncheon began with thanks to sponsors before recognizing our 2015 Laura Sampson Community Award Honorees. Recognized for their philanthropic dedication to their communities, our 2015 honorees were Dr. Sippi Khurana, Elaine Turner, Alden Clark and the Reverend Michael Gott and The Women’s Energy Network. The Women’s Home Executive Director Paula Paust then announced our 2015 WholeLife® Award Winner, Bryson Blair. The WholeLife Award goes to a graduate of The Women’s Home Treatment and Transitional Housing program who has flourished in her life and recovery. Bryson’s perseverance, bravery and honesty embody what it means to live a whole life.
Carine McCandless took the podium for the final portion of the luncheon, where she told the story of her brother, Chris McCandless also known as Alexander Supertramp, who was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild. Carine explained how the longer she spoke about her brother’s story at engagements and schools, where her candid honesty with students regularly led one in the crowd to come privately to her for help, the more she felt compelled to come forth with the whole story. This led to the writing of her memoir, The Wild Truth, which details how a childhood marked by domestic violence both emotional and physical, deeply shaped both her and Chris’s lives.
Carine explained that while her brother was drawn more and more to the wilderness for refuge from their family struggles, she found herself driven to the city and involved in relationships that mirrored the violence of her family home. When faced with these difficult situations, Carine invoked the image of two roads, one clear, straight and smooth, but somehow unsettling, the other winding and potholed, but with signs of promise for the journey ahead. Carine committed to the harder more rewarding path at each turn in her life and found success.
Carine’s story shows the same determination and indomitable spirit she recognizes in her brother. Time and again she found the strength to leave toxic relationships and the commitment to go through school, to run her own business, and begin a family she never expected to have.
Guests of the luncheon each received a signed copy of Carine’s memoir, The Wild Truth and had the opportunity to speak with Carine and have their book personalized after the program. Guests also bid on silent auction items provided by presenting sponsor Morton Auctioneers & Appraisers, 2015 honoree and bronze sponsor Elaine Turner, and fashion boutique Lucho. Attendees raised over $85,000 that will go towards helping women like Bryson build whole lives.