“CARTI saved my mom’s life. For that, I will be eternally indebted.”
By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Rett Peek | Wardrobe from Barakat Bespoke | Jewelry by Jones & Son Bridal & Diamond Fine Jewelry | Styled by Jenanne Filat with Barakat Bespoke | Grooming by Terrence Elliott with Icons Barber Shop
Festival of Trees continues to dazzle and delight. There’s fun for the entire family – from the Sugar Plum Ball to Tux ‘N Trees – its broad appeal makes it a beloved holiday tradition. Presented by CARTI, these events celebrate the resilient spirit of cancer survivors and remind constituents that CARTI joins in each family’s cancer journey. Festival of Fashion Style Chairman Aaron Perkins brings his personal perspective of CARTI’s live-saving services and what it means to be beautiful to the Capital City’s biggest + boldest runway show. His mother’s treatment is a testament to the compassionate, personalized care that CARTI offers patients.
Aaron is renowned for this unwavering optimism and ability to bring out the best in everyone he encounters. Whether it is work, community service or simply spending time with family and friends – his authenticity is undeniable and leaves a lasting impression. As the visionary behind Face Your Day Salon and Face Your Day Xpress, it’s no surprise that Aaron’s signature stamp on the Capital City – #PolishingTheRock – has become a phenomenon that generations of women embrace.
It’s his mother’s cancer journey that inspired it all. Aaron remembers, “I wanted to support my mom in every way possible. For me, that meant helping her feel more beautiful and confident during one of the hardest times of her life.” After a tenure in Miami and Manhattan working in the beauty industry, Aaron returned to Arkansas when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He also played a pivotal role coordinating appointments, consultations and treatments at CARTI. “As a single mother of five children, my mom didn’t have the insurance or resources for most of the services that CARTI offers,” Aaron explains. “That didn’t matter. The CARTI team helped me navigate the complicated system and assured us it would be okay. They were in it to beat it – regardless of the cost.”
Established as Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute, CARTI provided a cancer treatment center specializing in radiation therapy that was accessible to as many Arkansans as possible. Today, CARTI serves 22,000 Arkansans annually and offers all-inclusive cancer treatment with a statewide network of clinics that administer radiation and chemotherapy. As the largest private cancer clinic in Arkansas, CARTI focuses on the complete wellness of each patient – including programs beyond the scope of traditional practices that support emotional and spiritual wellness. “Our approach to cancer treatment is complete well-being,” CARTI Foundation Director Michaela Johnson explains. “Our team of experts consider the physical, emotional and financial health of each patient. We offer housing, transportation and financial assistance as well as emotional and nutritional counseling.” It’s this holistic portfolio of services that impressed Aaron. “Every detail of my mom’s treatment was considered, analyzed and explained to me with great care.”
Celebrating more than four decades of success, Festival of Trees supports this exceptional patient care. Style is certainly the star of the evening at Festival of Fashion, but it’s CARTI cancer survivor stories like Aaron’s mom that truly inspire the fight against cancer to continue. With 15 participating boutiques and lots of unexpected surprises, Aaron hopes guests will leave with a “sense of empowerment to step out and make a difference – personally and professionally – with that special sparkle that resonates from the soul.”