Photography by Sarah Oden | Special thanks to Mendi & David Palmer
It was a perfect (almost) fall morning for photography with Annie Norris. After a friendly welcome by curious barnyard residents, Annie and her rescue pup Lucy gathered with companions for photography. Her generosity created a setting of friendship + camaraderie. As this year’s honoree, there is no doubt Annie will inspire friends of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at the reimagined Finest Gala – bringing Breath of Life Gala and Taste of Finest together for one unforgettable CF evening.
Annie Norris will be recognized with the Breath of Life Award for her commitment to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and its continued mission fulfillment work. After losing her friend and business partner Todd Miles, Annie was instrumental in the development of Taste of Finest and the Todd Miles Award in 2005. Taste of the Finest celebrates the best and the brightest young professionals in Central Arkansas for their dedication to civic leadership and their commitment to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Todd Miles Award honors the top fundraiser and Todd’s memory, who lost his battle with CF at 40 years old. Annie affirms, “Since 2005, Taste of Finest has raised more than $1 million for the foundation.”
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that predominantly affects the lungs, the pancreas and the digestive system – causing infections and complications. Established in 1955, the CF Foundation supports innovative research and medical developments that treat the disease. As a result, the life expectancy of CF patients has increased dramatically. “When we were founded, children with cystic fibrosis only lived to be about 5 years old,” says Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Development Director Bethany Howell. “Today, cystic fibrosis patients are living as adults – getting married and having families of their own.”
Chairman Alisha Curtis will welcome guests to the Argenta Plaza for a dinner and program, Driven by a Dream, that highlights the organization’s mission to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. “We’re excited to feature local legend Rodney Block at this one-of-a-kind event and honor trailblazer Annie Norris. She is a true visionary that saw the need and joined our fight to support treatments and ultimately the cure to this debilitating disease.” It will be a fun + festive gathering of friends, reflective of the honorees and the enthusiasm to help FUNd a cure for cystic fibrosis.
“My goal each year is to keep the events growing, have fun and be a part of the efforts to find a cure for this genetic disease,” Annie emphasizes. “Today because of the foundation’s support of research and care, individuals with CF are living into adulthood. Together we can make a difference and find a cure.”