Hannah and Cal McNair team up with Texans running back D’Onta Foreman in River Oaks District to level the playing field for healthy moms and babies
There’s always a scene outside of Steak 48. The River Oaks District hotspot is a magnet for flashy types and athletes alike.
But Monday night’s display of supercars, sports stars and camera crews will be near impossible to top. Forget football – the Houston Texans and McNair family, co-hosts of March of Dimes’ 80th birthday bash, upped their philanthropic game for one clear purpose: to level the playing field for healthy moms and babies.
From tragedy, new life is born. Hannah McNair and Texans running back D’Onta Foreman have much in common; they each have an identical twin, are native Houstonians and lost a child recently due to birth complications. So the duo joined forces to ensure that expectant Houston mothers have access to the best health services available.
On the dizzying red carpet, Hannah explained that she and husband Cal McNair were asked to chair the evening one year prior. She’d experienced the loss of a little brother as a teenager, and then she and Cal lost their son shortly after Hurricane Harvey due to umbilical cord complications.
Foreman’s extended family joined the festivities, too. Though it wasn’t until the cocktail reception – a swirl of sparkling wine, savory hors d’oeuvres and selfies with Toro, the Texans mascot, or cheerleaders – that he shared the secret he’d kept for so long.
A poignant video recalled how Foreman, then a collegiate player for the University of Texas at Austin, lost his son due to complications from infection. He received the news just hours before a showdown against Texas Tech at Lubbock.
“I played the best game of life. I left it all on the field,” the now 22-year old said. Immediately after the Longhorns’ victory, he drove to his hometown, Texas City, to be with family and bury his child. “I was crying while I was driving, I was crushed.”
But Hannah and Foreman’s stories both have happy endings. The McNairs are expecting again, and Foreman’s daughter, Nike, just celebrated her first birthday.
March of Dimes supporters were also in a festive mood. By night’s end, a sold-out crowd of 250 party-goers surpassed the initial $300,000 fundraising goal to net $450,000 by night’s end.
Of course with two floors of current and former Texans players, open bar and a full menu at guests’ disposal, the setup proved a recipe for success.
The program shifted seamlessly from education to entertainment as party-goers headed upstairs for a four-course feast that pushed the limits of power-eating. Garlic bread, crispy shrimp, meatballs, salads, filets, family-style sides and smoked desserts made the rounds as Texans players hit every table.
The team ate beforehand, tight end Ryan Griffin explained. Their mission during dinner was to take as many selfies with fans as possible – for a price.
Donations were exchanged for beaded necklaces and snaps with the star athletes. A rose gold Rolex courtesy of IW Marks was at stake for the teammate who raked in the most dough. After a showdown against Christian Covington and Nick Martin, the coveted timepiece went to Kareem Jackson.
But the McNairs didn’t leave empty handed, either. A surprise video tribute and handmade gift from the couple’s children, with help from local artist Hanh Tran, ended the mega-fundraiser on a touching note.
Others, including former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels, extended their revelry nearby at Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. How else do winners toast a victory?