By Mandy Stanage Shoptaw | Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Wardrobe from Barbara Jean | Shot on location at Mark McLarty Ford Lincoln | Blackjack table provided by Arkansas Casino Events
Each year, more than 1,000 families come through the doors of the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This facility runs on love and a lot of commitment from volunteers like Kara Wright-Woller who, along with her husband Bob Woller, will welcome friends and patrons to A Night in Vegas hosted in the showroom of Mark McLarty Ford Lincoln. This evening of high-rolling fun will precede the annual Ronald McDonald House golf tournament.
“We felt like we needed to provide an opportunity for non-golfers to participate in our fundraising event,” explains Kara of the Vegas-inspired night. “The atmosphere will be a full-blown casino with food, beverages, many games of chance such as craps and blackjack. At the end of the evening, participants can parlay their winnings into chances for some wonderful prizes.”
Expect the glitz and glamour of Vegas with guests dressed in cocktail attire playing casino favorites like blackjack, poker and roulette. At the charity golf tournament the following day, golfers can choose from morning and afternoon tee times. Unique to this year’s tournament, on the par threes there will be an opportunity to win a new Ford from Mark McLarty Ford Lincoln as well as other prizes.
Proceeds support the critical services that the Ronald McDonald House provides to families whose children are receiving care and treatment from Central Arkansas hospitals. “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas raises every penny it takes to operate. Individual donations are critical to providing families with a place to stay close to their children in the hospital,” explains Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas Executive Director Janell Mason. “All of the funds donated here stay here to serve families in Arkansas. We use the money raised from fundraisers to take care of families, to give them a free place to stay just steps from their child’s bedside while also providing things such as meals, snacks, supplies and other amenities of home so they can focus on what matters most – their child.”
They like to say at Ronald McDonald House that they are a comfortable bed when waiting room chairs get uncomfortable. Volunteers provide meals and toiletry items along with other necessities to relieve some of the stress for the families. It costs the house $83 per room, per night, to operate but guests are only asked to offset these costs by making a $10 donation for each night’s stay.
“Our family has been blessed, but there are many others who are not so fortunate,” Kara says, reflecting on the many families who travel great distances to receive treatment at Little Rock area hospitals. “To be able to give back to our community and help those in need is really what we are supposed to do. At the Ronald McDonald House, to see the smiles on the kids faces and hear the ‘thank you’ from the parents are worth more than we could ever give.” So grab your glam and get ready for a fabulous night of spinning the wheel for a great cause.