By Rob Giardinelli
Photography By Jorge Reyes
It was a star-studded affair worthy of Austin’s moniker as The Live Music Capital of the World when Grammy-winning country crooner Keith Urban sang his greatest hits to a captive audience gathered for a worthy cause. The array of guests poured into the Moody Theatre at ACL in the W Hotel Austin for the event, entitled Date Night with Keith Urban, which helped raise awareness for Batten’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disease affecting children that initially affects a child’s vision, mind and body including paralysis and winding up in a vegetative state and ultimately death in one’s late teens or early twenties. Austinite Mark Chandler partnered with Craig Benson to develop foundation, which has grown in stature and community presence.
The event, deftly chaired by Shannon Janek and Sabrina Brown, was a fund-raising triumph. “The purpose of this event was to not only raise funds for Batten’s disease, but also to draw attention to genetic screening testing. What so many parents do not realize is that if two parents have the same recessive gene for a particular disease, there is a one-in-four chance that child will have that disease,” says Janek.
All funds raised from the evening went toward the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation, which is seeking to bring to market a genetic screening test of over 620 diseases to see if you are a carrier, including such diseases as Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia. as Urban brought down the house in his first live performance following recent throat surgery, resulting in an Urban Date Night guests will long remember.