Thursday, February 5, 2015

Not All Heroes Wear Capes. Meet Heroes For Children Founders Larissa Linton And Jenny Dowen

Heroes and Handbags 2012

Not All Heroes Wear Capes
by Alison Weinstein

This year, Heroes for Children turns ten and in March one of our iconic charity events, Heroes and Handbags will move from its historic luncheon to an evening fĂȘte in celebration of two awe-inspiring Dallas Moms. Over the last 10 years, Larissa Linton and Jenny Dowen have raised millions through their organization, Heroes for Children, to help Texas families with a child battling cancer. These remarkable women both lost their beautiful young daughters to Acute Myeloid Leukemia; Taylor was just 4 years old and Allie, just 8 months. Out of loss and the deepest kind of love, Larissa and Jenny built an endearing friendship. Together, they recounted the devastating effects of childhood cancer but also the tremendous support they received from the community. Unlike their experiences, however, they each witnessed many other families struggling without the aid and care of others. Because of time away from work, families were having difficulty paying for everyday necessities like clothing and electrical bills. Some even lost their homes. Again with dear friends, Larissa and Jenny resolved that no family in Texas with a child battling cancer would fight alone. In 2004, honoring their girls’ memories, Heroes for Children was born (HFC’s logo is 2 angels joined with a heart).

Larissa Linton & Jenny Dowen
“When Taylor was diagnosed on December 13, 2000, I was 8 months pregnant with my 3rd child and had an 18-month-old at home,” remembers Larissa. “My girlfriends rallied and held a golf tournament, the funds from which enabled my husband and I to hire a wonderful childcare provider for our other 2 girls (Tessa was born on Dec. 30th).

Due to Taylor's treatment, her immune system was too compromised for her little sisters to come into the room. I was a stay-at-home Mom and childcare on top of mounting medical bills was not something we could have handled without help.”

Heroes and Handbags is hands-down one of the chicest events in town and also one of the easiest at which to pull out your wallet and spend for a cause. Annually, Jenny and Larissa speak about the genesis of HFC and present beneficiaries so poignant, you are overwhelmed with gratitude for the good health of those close to you. Going head to head (and heels to heels!) with friends during the silent auction of fabulous (and mostly couture) handbags has become a welcome sport for the hundreds who attend year after year.

Skye and William Brewer along with Jennifer and Richard Dix are chairing Heroes’ 10th Anniversary Celebration at The Anatole on March 28th with one of the most kind and generous couples in town, Tracy and Ben Lange serving as Honorary Chairs. To date, Heroes for Children has provided more than $4.5 million directly to over 4,000 Texas families through financial assistance grants. In addition, through social assistance programs (i.e., Holiday Heroes, Valentine's Dinners, Museum and Movie Nights), Heroes provides moments of normalcy and respite so families have a chance to restore their emotional resources. For sponsorship and ticket information to Heroes and Handbags and to volunteer for the organization, log on to

About Alison Weinstein:  A freelance writer and TV news producer, Weinstein started her career with CondĂ© Nast Publications and ultimately followed her passion to television news at MSNBC in New York. Now in Dallas for over ten years, Alison has worked with NBC Network’s Southwest Bureau and other major network news divisions as a field producer. Making a difference in the community is also a terrific passion and Alison is honored to serve in leadership roles for Heroes for Children and The Dallas Holocaust Museum. Alison loves spending quality time with her husband, Michael and their two children, Carter & Ashley.