By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Wardrobe & Accessories from Scarlet
CARTI’s Festival of Trees is a family affair for countless Arkansans and remains a beloved holiday tradition. From Sugar Plum Ball to Tux ‘N Trees, the festivities celebrate the resilient spirit of cancer survivors and life-saving services that CARTI provides. Festival of Fashion fills a FUN + fabulous niche and continues to surprise guests with its fashion-forward appeal and New York Fashion Week-style runway show – this year featuring 12 Central Arkansas boutiques and the season’s most stylish trends.
Chairman Charley Swann joins Shannon McKinney in welcoming guests to a disco-inspired evening that promises performances by the legendary Rico iMove and ample opportunity to get down to the groovy disco funk with friends + join the fight against cancer. Introduced to the CARTI Auxiliary by Erin Hohnbaum, Charley was immediately impressed by “the holistic approach to cancer treatment.” She notes, “CARTI focuses on the physical, emotional and financial well-being of each patient as well as family members who are impacted by the cancer diagnosis.”
An attorney by trade, Charley’s pragmatic approach to civic leadership blends seamlessly with her philosophy: “Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst.” As a CARTI auxiliary member, Charley joins nearly 300 volunteers that play a vital role in the organization’s structure and success. Each year, Festival of Trees generates critical support – more than $7 million cumulatively throughout its tenure – for CARTI’s Patient Assistance Program. “From patient housing and transportation to outreach wellness programs, CARTI develops a customized treatment program for each patient,” Charley explains. “You hope you never need it, but CARTI exists to serve those who do with the best – most compassionate – care possible.”
Like so many in the CARTI community of supporters, Charley’s family has been impacted by cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer when Charley and her brother were young. She admits, “I have always heard her survivor story and been moved by it, but it seemed so far removed from my perspective because I was a baby and she is a success story.” Charley and her husband Jeff welcomed their first child last year. As she reflects on what it means to be a mother, she realizes “how incredibly difficult and terrifying it would be to face cancer and develop a plan to fight it.”
At the CARTI Cancer Center, patients benefit from the newest technology with services available in a centralized location. Care extends beyond the physical and carefully considers the emotional support for the patient and family. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, CARTI joins in a family’s fight and provides assured confidence that the patient will receive the best treatment available. Although education and research have evolved, CARTI’s mission remains constant.
Festival of Fashion guarantees the grooviest evening of this holiday season. Pam Cox, a well-established CARTI auxiliary member, is being honored as this year’s Festival of Fashion style icon. CARTI Event Specialist & Volunteer Coordinator Michaela Johnson notes the disco theme reflects decades of dedication from volunteers as well as the glitz + glamour of contemporary fashion. “After all, the funky and fabulous music of the 70s is as enduring as the fight against cancer. Festival of Fashion will once again have guests dancing in their seats as they enjoy the latest fashions from the coolest boutiques in Central Arkansas.”