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Be a Part of the Cure Walk

By KATIE ZAKRZEWSKI  | Photography by LORI SPARKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

When most people think of the way hospitals approach cancer, they might not immediately think of awareness. But the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is doing just that… raising awareness for cancer and cancer survivors while cultivating a stronger, healthier Central Arkansas community. Be a Part of the Cure Walk Co-Chairman Rebecca Tackett has been involved since its creation in 2020. She is excited by how much the walk has grown.

“Cancer affects everyone,” Rebecca explains. “It’s affected my family, it’s affected my my friends, my coworkers, and I wanted to get involved.” That’s why she believes this event is exceptionally inclusive, with festivities to complement the organized 1k and 5k courses. Guests can mingle at the Growing Hope Survivor Zone area and enjoy food, drinks and entertainment. There will also be a kids’ zone. Patients are encouraged to share personal stories. Participants can submit photos of the friends and family they’re walking for to be shared on the War Memorial Stadium Jumbotron.

“This 4th annual Be a Part of the Cure Walk is the only cancer walk for patients suffering from ALL cancers,” explains Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and UAMS vice chancellor. “In addition, it honors our cancer survivors, welcomes families who have been touched by this terrible disease, and celebrates all the wonderful staff who have dedicated their lives to caring for patients suffering from cancer.” Rebecca recognizes that part of the awareness and community building is balancing fitness with fun. “We have so many different people who come and get involved,” Rebecca says. “We have vendor tables too, so you can do a little shopping and get information that can help you and your friends and family if you’re battling cancer.” Rebecca notes that all of the proceeds stay in Arkansas for cancer research.

After the pandemic obstacles during previous years, organizers are expecting a big walk this year with broader appeal – much like the services and healthcare that UAMS provides. “The walk also brings patients, survivors and caregivers – all of us who are fighting this disease together to rally support,” Dr. Birrer notes. “It’s an inspiring and uplifting event that everyone in the cancer community needs.” 

“We’re really excited about this fourth year and what we can do with Be a Part of the Cure Walk,” Rebecca adds. “We’re really trying to reach out, not just to communities in Pulaski County, but in Saline County, Benton, Bryant, Jacksonville and Conway. We want to get more schools and more people involved, and to come to Little Rock and walk. That’s our goal right now.”  For Rebecca, getting people to register, walk, create a team and share a story raises awareness and celebrates survivors while bringing the community together. “It’ll be a great morning to participate in the community and be a part of the cure.”

Inviting Arkansas

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