Red Dress Gala 2015: A family affair

Rachael Embrey sat with her mother and twin brother and sister, enjoying appetizers and red dress-shaped cookies during the Red Dress Gala, a charity benefit for the Alpha Phi Foundation and women’s cardiac care.

For Embrey, a sophomore in nursing, the event means raising money to help find a cure for her mother’s heart disorder. 

“For me it is important because I have such a close relationship with my mom, and the money goes to women’s cardiac care,” she said. 

Members of the Alpha Phi sorority, running around in red dresses in Shirley Beggs Ballroom, shared similar stories of family members affected by heart disease. 

Alondra Contreras, freshman in pre-nursing and a member of Alpha Phi, helped on the Red Dress Gala committee, and also has a history of heart disease in her family. 

“Not a lot of people know that cardiac disease is the No. 1 killer in women, and I didn’t know that before Alpha Phi,” Contraras said.  

Friends and family enjoyed the Wichita State Jazz Arts Ensemble while chatting with friends and family and eating hors d’oeuvres before the program. 

Young couples, siblings and family members twirled each other around on the dance floor, while others perused the elaborate baskets put together by the sorority.  

Members of Alpha Phi sold raffle tickets for a chance to win baskets and select items, such as a Kate Spade purse valued for more than $428, and a NCAA-official basketball signed by the Wichita State men’s basketball team. 

The gala not only collected money, but it also raised awareness with a speech from heart attack survivor Donna Brummett, and a CPR training video followed by a 30-second practice period for the audience. 

Last year the event raised about $10,000 for the foundation, and Marie Brewer, coordinator of the gala, said she hopes this year generated even more since each member of the sorority had to sell at least five, $20 tickets. 

The foundation’s money goes toward scholarships, grants for research, educational programs for women’s heart health and money for Alpha Phi women in crisis situations. 

“It is important for our foundation because we get to contribute and make a difference for women who are suffering from cardiac diseases,” Embrey said.