By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Laura Moore with Lox Hair Lounge | Makeup by Ashley Springer with Belle & Blush | Wardrobe from Dillard’s – special thanks to Kim Hamric | Shot on location at the Little Rock Zoo with Pascal the Veiled Chameleon – special thanks to Hannah Baker and LeeAnn Goette
Folklore suggests that birds often signify renewed life – messengers delivering freedom and perspective throughout a lifetime. It’s this kind of optimism that the 20th Century Club provides to residents of the Hope Lodge and a spirit that the Angels of Hope share. Jillian Yant, along with Hope Ball Chairmen Martha Ellen Talbot and Lisa Wright, will welcome guests to a Miami-inspired evening of elegance and ease that celebrates the work of the 20th Century Club and this year’s Angels of Hope.
Jillian discovered the 20th Century Club through a professional community service initiative. She remembers, “When I came across the 20th Century Club, I was so moved by the mission. I thought of my grandmother, whom I recently lost, and knew she would have loved the Hope Lodge during her cancer treatments. She never met a stranger and could light up a room – the comfort, support and community that the Hope Lodge provides would have really helped her through her cancer journey.”
A tax manager for Bank of the Ozarks, Jillian’s pragmatic approach to civic leadership serves her well as president of the 20th Century Club Board of Directors. Under her leadership, the 20th Century Club continues the organization’s mission fulfillment work – providing lodging and fellowship to cancer patients. “We keep the focus on what benefits our patients and caregivers the most, sharing comfort and kindness during the most difficult time of their lives.” She leads a strong membership whose steadfast commitment is remarkable. “Martha Ellen and Lisa – both breast cancer survivors – are working hard again this year to make the Hope Ball a success.”
The Hope Ball guarantees an evening that reflects the hope and healing of the 20th Century Club – the essence of the club’s mission. Martha Ellen and Lisa kept a finite focus on this throughout the planning process and determined an atmosphere of a tropical paradise, infused with great food and cocktails along with the warmth of the 20th Century Club membership, seemed most appropriate. “After going through my own cancer treatment, the 20th Century Club answered a calling in my heart to support our patients at the Hope Lodge,” Martha Ellen notes. “We HOPE this ball will entertain and inspire guests – slipping into colorful gowns and enjoying an old-world Miami Beach evening of HOPE. Remembering that birds don’t worry – they sing.”
The highlight of the gala is the formal presentation of the Angels of Hope. Established in 2008, the program fosters civic leadership and a spirit of volunteerism among high school juniors. Their service at the lodge includes serving meals, playing games and visiting with cancer patients. Inviting Arkansas Owner & Publisher Michele Towne will be celebrated with the Hope Award and club member Teresa Clow will be recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. Proceeds support the operating costs of the lodge and the organization’s sustainability.
For more than 25 years, the 20th Century Club has helped families battling cancer, offering “hope away from home” at its lodge. The 20th Century Club isn’t affiliated with a specific hospital or healthcare organization, and assistance is available to all cancer patients regardless of where treatment is received. This no-cost housing for patients receiving treatment at area medical centers includes more than the necessary amenities.
Jillian’s heart for service spans the decades. She remembers participating in Girl Scouts and credits her great-grandmother Ollie Markham as a constant source of inspiration. “She was kind, nurturing and patient. She wrote poetry and loved to dance. She was always smiling, and I want to live my life with that much joy each day.”
Jillian and her husband Scott, who also works at Bank of the Ozarks, recognize the importance of civic leadership. They enjoy the camaraderie of family and friends in Central Arkansas and feel invested in the welfare of all Arkansans. “We both have a passion for community involvement, and he’s given so much of his time and talent to a number of organizations, specifically Special Olympics. We are fortunate to have great careers in Central Arkansas that afford us the ability to give back, and it’s knowing that there’s still work to be done in our community that keeps us motivated.”
Work: “I really do love taxes!”
Fun: cross-stitching as meditation
Food: Local Lime
By the Numbers
20th Century Club’s Lodge provides (annually):
Approximately 5,000 nights of lodging
Approximately 4,000 meals
Approximately 1,200 patients / caregivers from 385 cities across 24+ states