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Abbey Lights Up COTA: Fundraiser Illuminates a Life-Changing Cause

Highlights from the 5th annual bash for an Austin nonprofit that provides essential tools and services to medically fragile children and their families

Abbey Lights Up COTA
Jonathan Cottor, Sharon Halloran, Melissa Keller, Travis Keller, Holly Mills-Gardner & Jean Bruns

The Abigail E. Keller Foundation recently brought its fundraiser to Circuit of the Americas for the first time. On August 12, Austinites and change makers in gorgeous cocktail attire gathered for an incredible cause at the sprawling southeast property for Abbey Lights Up COTA.

The night honored Abigail Elizabeth Keller, the inspiration and namesake behind the impactful Austin-based nonprofit. Providing essential tools and services to medically fragile children and their families, including community outreach programs, financial grants for items not covered by insurance and Family Care packages for those entering hospice programs, the organization has raised more than $400,000 since their inception in 2019.

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Abigail E. Keller Foundation’s Board of Directors

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Guests browsing silent auction items

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Jean Bruns & Allison Miller with a Ricky Bobby impersonator

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The Champagne wall was courtesy of Candid Contractor Services

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Travis & Melissa Keller

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Robert Wagner & Holly Mills-Gardner

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Sandy & Randy Eads

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Gala organizers and attendees dancing the night away

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Guests enjoying dinner

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Gala supporters in beautiful cocktail attire

During the event, supporters were treated to wine from William Chris Vineyards, a wow-worthy Champagne wall courtesy of Candid Contractor Services and a delightful dinner catered by Proof of the Pudding. After bidding on enticing silent and live auction items, guests headed to the stage for a exciting performance from local band, Suede.

The annual gala also acts as a vital source of funding for the Foundation’s current mission of building Central Texas’ first pediatric respite/hospice facility.

“Our greatest mission is to change the narrative around hospice care for children and instead help families to cherish time with the ones they love most,” says the Foundation’s president, Melissa Keller. “This facility will serve as a safe space staffed with trained professionals, that is a comfortable setting outside of the home or hospital. Such a space is vital to families, especially those with other children at home, and there is currently nothing like this available in Texas.”

Emceed by 1998 Miss Texas USA Holly Mills-Gardner, the program included a key note speech from Ryan’s House’s Jonathan Cottor on his experience building one of only three pediatric respite/hospice homes in the entire country. With the goal to establish the same groundbreaking care for Central Texans, Abigail’s parents Melissa and Travis continue to spread the same light as their daughter with neighbors in need.

For more information on how the organization uplifts medically fragile children and families facing the unimaginable, visit aekellerfoundation.org.