Ashley Bermingham embraces a new perspective, “Why not expect the best and prepare for it too?” It’s a twist on a well-established adage, “expect the best, prepare for the worst” and reflects the resilient spirit of cancer survivors + beautiful new beginnings. Next month, Ashley will welcome guests to Festival of Fashion for an evening of intergalactic techno-color fabulous fashion. Proceeds support the CARTI Patient Assistance Program – providing resources that improve the physical, emotional and financial health of patients.
“This year, Festival of Fashion is all about new beginnings and transformation,” Ashley elaborates. “With the new surgery center and research-driven technology, it’s also about new frontiers.” CARTI is the largest, private cancer clinic in Arkansas and remains steadfast in its mission to make treatment available to as many Arkansans as possible. With its all-inclusive cancer center and statewide network of clinics that administer radiation + chemotherapy, CARTI serves 35,000 Arkansans annually. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, there’s also assured confidence that the patient will receive care that extends beyond the physical with special consideration to the emotional support. “New beginnings are all about the unknown and the team at CARTI helps families face the fears of cancer and find life as a survivor.”
It’s this compassionate care that CARTI offers during a family’s cancer journey that impresses Ashley. “Their passion for bringing the best medical care to every patient that comes through the doors of each CARTI location,18 throughout the state, is unparalleled by any cancer institution. It just feels different.” Education and research have evolved, but CARTI’s vision remains constant. CARTI Foundation Director Michaela Johnson adds, “Our Patient Assistance Program provides support such as transportation and lodging as well as financial, emotional and nutritional counseling. It’s part of our commitment to provide comprehensive, complementary support services to eliminate barriers to treatment.”
A native Arkansan, Ashley recognizes the strong sense of community across the Natural State. “It seems like there’s always something to do and people go to great efforts to create a thriving social scene. We’re some of the most philanthropic folks around!” Festival of Fashion fills the niche with its fashion-forward appeal and New York Fashion Week-style runway show featuring 14 Central Arkansas boutiques + the season’s most stylish trends. “It’s awesome to see the stores supporting and helping one another with a common goal.” This year guarantees an evening of fashion that’s out of this world. Michaela notes the intergalactic theme reflects superstar volunteers as well as the glitter and glam that makes the holiday season special. “After all, the fight against cancer is universal and strong, like the galaxy – it’s fearless and never-ending. We’ll have guests dancing in their seats, enjoying the show and joining the force!”
Ashley remembers her grandmother who faced cancer gracefully at the end of her life. “She was such an inspiration – a savvy businesswoman, but also a wonderful wife and mother.” During one of their last visits, Ashley made her laugh and helped with her self-care routine. She admits to making light of an awful situation. “Cancer doesn’t have to be sad all the time, people want to laugh and feel normal. That’s what CARTI is to me.” And in preparation for the fashion in a galaxy very far way – she adds, “I think most people would agree that miracles happen every day, so why can’t they happen to us? I fully believe that we attract what we think about into our lives. I’m so proud to be a part of an event that is truly making a difference in so many patients’ lives.”