Each year, community leaders put on their dancing shoes in hopes of winning the title that is earned at the Dancing with Our Stars Gala. All this fun and friendly competition among participants benefits the Children’s Tumor Foundation and supports the Arkansas chapter’s research and mission: to end and find a cure for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth in the nervous system, causing tumors to form on nerve tissue.
CTF also provides support for children and families affected by NF. A portion of the proceeds is donated for grants to send Arkansas teens to the International NF Summer Camp held at Camp Kostopulos (Camp K).
Leading up to the grand event, we’re putting each star in the spotlight and introducing them on our blog. They will compete for the dancing title and mirror ball trophy at the Sept. 8 gala, in addition to soliciting contributions + votes prior to the event.
Meet Rachel Parker Harding (partnered with Tim Acosta of Little Rock Westies)
Little Rock native Rachel Parker Harding graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology. After graduating, Rachel moved to the Virgin Islands to work for the Marriott Hotel. There she picked up a few island moves that she hopes will serve her well on the dance floor. Following her island adventure, Rachel moved back to Little Rock and has been married to her husband, Buddy, for nearly seven years. After selling cars for a few years at her family’s business, Parker Automotive Group, she decided to stay at home and focus on raising their little boy, “Five,” and their three dogs. She continues to stay involved in the community through several local charities.
Rachel is honored and excited to be a part of the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing with Our Stars event and she hopes that raising money and awareness will help further the mission to end NF.
Inviting Arkansas: Why do you choose to live and volunteer in Central Arkansas?
Rachel: Little Rock is my home. I was born and raised here and plan to be here forever. There isn’t anywhere else I would rather live and volunteer than here.
IA: Type of dance you’ve always wanted to learn?
Rachel: I really enjoyed cotillion when I was younger, so I have always wanted to get back into learning ballroom dance.
IA: Dance claim to fame?
Rachel: Not sure I have a dance claim to fame, but one that makes me laugh is the Dollar Wine Dance. When I worked in the Virgin Islands, every employee meeting began with the Dollar Wine Dance. It was pretty hilarious and would lighten any mood!
IA: Why did you agree to be a Dancing with Our Stars contestant?
Rachel: I thought being a contestant would be a fun way to help raise awareness for neurofibromatosis and the Children’s Tumor Foundation, as well as a great opportunity to learn a new dance.
IA: What do you most look forward to about the evening?
Rachel: I look forward to watching everyone else dance. Our group is so fun and outgoing, so I know all of the dances will be a sight to see!
IA: What are you nervous about?
Rachel: I’m nervous to perform in front of so many people, but the excitement definitely outweighs any nerves.