The analogy of a seed is often used to symbolize hope. This tiny speck that could be mistaken for a pebble is buried in the ground and grows into a beautiful creation of nature. Elizabeth Birrer is reminded of this analogy every time she passes the Seed of Hope Garden at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Elizabeth is still new to the Natural State, immersing herself in the community as a member of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Advisory Board of Directors and serves as chairman of the inaugural Be a Part of the Cure Walk. “It is extremely gratifying to be involved in supporting the institute and to see the endless support and loyalty the community has shown in its selfless commitment in moving us forward,” adds Elizabeth.
Elizabeth explains participating in the event is easy; it can be walking, donating or volunteering. “The Be a Part of the Cure Walk is a way to say, ‘I will help.’” This walk promotes cancer awareness and related research as it grows hope for the thousands of Arkansans who are affected by cancer in different ways – patients, caretakers and family members. Together, Arkansas will move forward to find better therapies and quality of life improvements for those living with cancer, while staying focused on the finish line of finding a cancer cure.
Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers are the top incident cancers in Arkansas; Be a Part of the Cure Walk is about ALL Arkansans dealing with ANY type of cancer. This fun yet informative walk will feature informational booths with tips for prevention and available therapeutic services as well as other relevant cancer concerns. The Mammovan – a mobile Mammography unit – will be at War Memorial Stadium along with local entertainment and the family-friendly walk that will welcome everyone. Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Communications Manager Susan Van Dusen explains, “Not only are we raising vitally important money for cancer research but also building a community of support through participation, education and awareness that will involve people across the state.”
Like most, Elizabeth’s family has been impacted by the challenges of cancer. As the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute vice chancellor & director, her husband Dr. Michael Birrer has devoted his career to cancer patients and related research. Together, their impact in the cancer battlefield is impressive. “We are excited about the walk and we hope for it to be a celebration of all that has been accomplished in the fight against cancer as a way to honor the amazing survivors, their families and loved ones who have died.”
Participation in the Be a Part of the Cure Walk is a way to nurture the same hope that is inspired by a tiny seed using both the dark and the light to grow into something beautiful. And in this case, that is a cure.