The Finest Gala

By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sarah Oden Photography | Wardrobe from The Royal We

   A love of people and place brought Cat and John Sims back to the Natural State. Surrounded by family and friends, the couple is deeply devoted to the welfare of fellow Arkansans. Cat juggles a busy schedule – mom, fashion blogger, friend, philanthropist with ease + elegance. In a home filled with natural light and positive energy, she speaks with great conviction about civic leadership as well as personal responsibility.  “We wanted to serve our home state in meaningful ways,” Cat explains. John, a head and neck oncologic and microvascular reconstructive surgeon at CARTI Cancer Center, shares compassion and innovation with patients throughout the state. “Although, my contribution is different,” she adds. “I have always loved volunteering and giving. It’s a way to make a huge difference and it’s a gift to me as well.”

  Cat will be recognized for her unwavering support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the Finest Gala later this month. She was initially introduced to the health risks of cystic fibrosis through her sister-in-law Rachel Sims, whose husband is a CF patient. “The foundation does amazing things for patients by connecting them to healthcare providers, financial assistance and more.” Cat continues, “But the greatest contribution is a commitment to research.” 

  Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that predominantly affects the lungs, pancreas and digestive system – causing serious infections and complications. Established in 1955, the CF Foundation supports research and medical developments that treat the disease, and as a result, the life expectancy of CF patients has increased dramatically. “Today, innovative therapies developed by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation are transforming the lives of thousands of people with CF,” Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Senior Development Director Bethany Howell elaborates.  “Continued support through young professionals, like Cat Sims will ensure we have the resources to continue our fight for a cure.” 

   The reimagined Finest Gala, introduced last year, celebrates the achievements of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well as the Finest honorees. These young professionals represent the best and brightest in Central Arkansas – advocating for the foundation and cultivating support for life-saving research. Last year, Cat received the Todd Miles Award for her fundraising efforts. The award remembers Todd, who lost his battle with cystic fibrosis at 40 years old. It’s an evening of emotion and jubilation. “It’s so special to see so many of the CF families come together with tears of joy and excitement. We’re all cheering for honorees who spent a year raising money for the cause. It’s an outdoor evening formal event and you can’t beat an early fall night in Arkansas.” She jokingly adds, “Of course, I love a chance to have a full glam, high fashion moment.”

   Along with the fun + festivities of event season in Central Arkansas, Cat impresses the purpose of these fundraisers is finite. And she provides constant encouragement to friends family. “We can’t wait until we deem ourselves ‘good enough’ to start something good in life. Just do it; make someone else’s life better and see how good it feels.” Her civic leadership certainly reflects this philosophy and her positive perspective. She plans to welcome guests to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas Blue Jeans & Bubbles this month and attend CARTI Festival of Trees next month. Her enthusiasm is palpable as she looks forward to the Finest Gala. “The ultimate goal of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is for CF to stand for Cure Found. I truly believe that it will happen in our lifetime.” 

Inviting Arkansas

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