Yes, indeed, there was a catch when the American Cancer Society invited Doug Tisdale to be the honoree at its annual Champions of Hope Gala, The Butterfly Ball.
No, he wasn’t asked to kick in a huge amount of money in exchange for the chance to spend an evening in the spotlight and listen as friends and professional colleagues would sing his praises.
Nor was he required to sell an extraordinary amount of tickets (although he did).
Truth be told, the stipulation came from Tisdale himself: He would accept the honor only if he could once again volunteer as the evening’s auctioneer.
Tisdale, an attorney, author and actor currently serving as executive vice president of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, is well-versed on persuading bidders to open their wallets, having volunteered his auctioneering skills on behalf of causes ranging from the Children’s Diabetes Foundation to the Colorado Neurological Institute, Cancer League of Colorado and Cerebral Palsy of Colorado.
And he did himself proud at Champions of Hope, bringing in top dollar for items that included a weekend’s use of a luxurious hybrid Karma Revero and a stay at one of the deluxe properties that are part of the Quintess Collection.
Bob Golden, president and CEO of the South Metro Chamber and a member of the American Cancer Society Denver board, presented Tisdale with the Champion of Hope award, describing him as “a man of integrity and professionalism,” a man who is adept at “strategic engagement,” or the art of connecting the right people to the right cause.
Tisdale deflected the praise by noting that the “true honorees tonight are the patients, doctors, researchers, caregivers and friends who live with one or more aspects of cancer every day.”
He also noted that his guests included three survivors: his steady companion, Stephanie Bender, longtime friend Arlene Mohler Johnson, and Andrea Hyatt, whose late husband, Jack, had been Tisdale’s mentor when he was a young lawyer starting out at the firm now known as Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
The Champions of Hope Gala was chaired by Erica Ferris, marketing director for the Monarch Casino Black Hawk and a member of the ACS Denver board. She was aided by a committee of nine: Cynthia Batchelder, Allison Beck, Kate Brewer, Niki Brewer, Rob Carroll, Jeannie DeFore, Allison Gellner, Adam O’Leary and Natalie Serkova.
The popular fundraiser was held at Mile High Station and began with a social hour where an aerialist performed without a net for a crowd that included Amy Venturi, deputy chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper, and her husband, Ken; Dana Davis, executive director of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation; Lisa Rigsby Peterson, executive director of the Lone Tree Arts Center, with Robin Scurto, the LTAC’s annual fund manager, Susan Stiff, president of the LTAC board, and the guild’s president-elect, Tonya Fallows.
Others staying on to enjoy a dinner catered by Footers and music by Raising Cain were Edgewater Mayor Kris Teegardin; KB Solutions president Kim Bimestefer; Michael Hafer, a senior vice president at Western Union, and his wife, Amy; and Steve Wiskow, luxury brand marketing manager and director of philanthropy for Bentley Denver, a dealership representing such high-end autos as Ferrari, Bentley, Lotus, USSV, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Maserati, Porche and Karma.