By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sarah Oden | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Jewelry from Jones & Son Diamond & Bridal Fine Jewelry | Shot on location at the Albert Pike Masonic Center
For nearly a decade, Becky Marks has served alongside other 20th Century Club members with a collective purpose: easing the burden for cancer patients and their families. Enthusiasm and determination, complemented by her tenure at UAMS, make Becky an ardent ambassador for the club and its residents at the lodge. As president of the 20th Century Club, she will welcome friends and patrons to the Hope Ball later this month with a deeper perspective of how cancer impacts families.
Becky’s love for life in Arkansas and the people around her reflect her intrinsic hope for humanity. From the moment we met, her gratitude for the work of the 20th Century Club was irrefutable. “The mission and an opportunity to interact with patients as well as their caregivers instantly resonated with me,” she explains. “At our lodge, we are housing financially-impacted cancer patients from out of town who are receiving treatment at local medical centers. This is at ZERO cost to the family. It makes me proud of our community to be able to help relieve some of the fear for families.”
As she recalls her childhood in Dumas, Becky notes the compassionate nature that inspired her heart for service. “It was always neighbors helping neighbors – if someone needed help, then help arrived without delay. I witnessed this in our community and my own parent’s generosity was a definite influence.” This former nurse realized the immensity of relieving the stress for families with life’s simple amenities. “They are amazed and profoundly grateful for the comfort, safety and support they receive here. The 20th Century Club represents the best of Little Rock for patients that are nervous about traveling and treatments.”
For more than 25 years, the 20th Century Club has helped families through their cancer journey – providing a “home away from home” at the lodge. “We offer food and lodging; our members often bring meals to the lodge and we enjoy this time interacting with our guests. Many return for subsequent treatments, we get to know them pretty well,” Becky elaborates. “During this pandemic, many nonprofit organizations have curtailed services. Our lodge never closed the doors to patients and caregivers because cancer doesn’t stop for COVID-19.” Each year, the Hope Ball generates critical support for the operating costs of the lodge and the organization’s sustainability. A highlight of the gala is the formal presentation of the Angels of Hope. Celebrating more than a decade of community service, the program fosters civic leadership and a spirit of volunteerism among high school juniors. Traditional activities at the lodge include sharing meals, playing games and visiting with cancer patients. With special consideration to the pandemic safety + health precautions, the Angels of Hope programming has been adapted. 20th Century Club Executive Director Elizabeth Clogston explains, “These young ladies have had an unusual service experience due to necessary reduction in personal contact with residents. However, this group worked hard and found creative ways to support patients. The lodge certainly felt the presence of the Angels of Hope.”
This kind of hope means more to Becky than she expected. “When I joined the 20th Century Club, I was so excited for the opportunity to help and advocate for cancer patients,” Becky remembers. “Little did I know, in just a few years my own mother would be diagnosed with cancer.” Her family was fortunate to be embraced by a community of support. “When you consider the illness, never-ending treatments, transportation challenges, loss of income – among other concerns – it is overwhelming.”
Janice Butterfield Brewer, Becky’s beloved mother, surrendered her courageous cancer battle in January. Even in the midst of tragedy, Becky maintains optimism for the resources the 20th Century Club provides. “The knowledge I gained during this journey gives me new resolve to continue helping our patients and families. It affirms that what we do at our lodge is a blessing beyond measure.”