FORMER ASTROS PITCHER Joe Smith and his sportscaster wife Allie LaForce hosted a gala at Minute Maid Park's Union Station in an effort to raise funds and awareness of Huntington’s Disease, which took the life of Smith’s mother in 2020.
Smith and LaForce established their nonprofit HelpCureHD, which provides support for those suffering from the progressive brain disease. Huntington’s Disease hereditary, and there’s a 50 percent chance of passing the gene along to offspring. However, going through IVF and screening embryos before implantation is one way to eliminate the risk, and HelpCureHD has committed to help couples cover the cost of that process. A number of babies and children who are HD-free thanks to the nonprofit’s grant program attended the gala, and Smith and LaForce are currently expecting their first HD-free child.
Silent and live auctions included items like a trip to the Four Seasons in Napa and Diamond Club seats for an Astros game. Anticipating yet another stellar season, a popular live-auction package was two tickets to every ’Stros playoff game (including the World Series!). Those prizes, plus a raffle for a 22-carat Asscher-cut tanzanite ring donated by Shaftel Diamonds, contributed to a total till of more than $500,000.
Among those raising a glass for the cause were Whitney and Jim Crane, Adrienne and Jared Crane, Rachel and Jeff Bagwell, sports reporter Julia Morales, and Astros players Ryan Pressly, Kyle Tucker and Tony Kemp.
Amanda Boffine, Julie Chen, Brooke Bentley Gunst
Ryan and Kat Pressly
Jim and Jo Furr
Charisse Mayer, Cynthia Wolf, Shelley Boyar
Jessica Roupe, Rachel Bagwell, Adrienne Crane, Julia Morales
Christian and Megan Pratt with baby Lincoln, and Morgan and Matthew and Gothard with baby Addie Ruth (photo by Rae Tay Photography)
Elizabeth Elder, Michelle Hart
Danny Shaftel, Allie LaForce and Iraida Brown
Jeff and Rachel Bagwell
Dana Barton, Robert Clay
Sherri Levin, Craig Rapp
Jessica and Matt Morrison