Photography by Carper Creative Photography
Each year, community leaders wear their dancing shoes for the coveted winning title that is earned at the Dancing with Our Stars Gala. All this fun and friendly competition 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.
Children’s Tumor Foundation also provides support for children and families affected by NF. A portion of gala proceeds will support the Adult NF Clinic Pilot Program. We’re putting each star in the spotlight and introducing them on our blog. They will compete at the Sept. 9 gala, in addition to soliciting contributions + votes prior to the event.
Dancing with Mike Nelson
“I’m honored to have been asked to participate in the Children’s Tumor Foundation 2022 Dancing with Our Stars event! I danced for a few years in Junior High & High School. I have absolutely no idea if I will remember a thing, but I’m willing to give it my best shot to raise funds to end NF.”
Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephanie obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Stephanie has volunteered for as long as she can remember beginning with many years of completing Girl Scout service hours to becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA while in college. Before meeting her husband, Jake, she considered her future career to belong in non-profits.
Life had other plans, and today Stephanie works in the family’s restaurant business while volunteering each year for two or three causes, now able to enjoy both worlds!
Stephanie is the President of Marketing for JTJ Restaurants, LLC. She and her fantastic team handle the marketing & advertising for various restaurants in Arkansas, including Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Petit & Keet, Cypress Social, Waldo’s Chicken & Beer, and Big Bad Breakfast.
Past volunteer involvement includes partnering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, ACCESS, Susan G. Komen, and the Children’s Advocacy Center. She was named a “Woman to Watch” in 2016 by Little Rock Soiree Magazine and nominated in 2021 for “AY’s Intriguing Women” feature.
Stephanie lives in Little Rock with her loving husband Jake of 13 years and is blessed with two extraordinary sons, Holden, age 12, and Dashiell, age 7. Join Stephanie in supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation this year as she leaves the restaurants to cha-cha in the ballroom!
In her own words…
Why did you chose to participate as a Star in the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing with Our Stars event?
I’m passionate about volunteering, and this event is a fun and unique way to make a difference.
What is something that has surprised you in preparation for the big event?
Fundraising and choreography are equally challenging!
Biggest performance fear?
I think everyone has a bit of stage fright. Luckily, my dance partner Mike Nelson is a mental health therapist – so I may have an advantage.