JAN. 7, 2004 | An unexpected Christmas gift left supporters of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Family Home astonished recently as gifts from the Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) Auxiliary and the Tiny Hands Monster Bash raised $130,000 for the facility.
The ACRC Auxiliary presented a check for $100,000 from several fund-raising activities held throughout the year. The Tiny Hands Monster Bash raised $30,000 for the Family Home by holding its second annual costume party and silent auction in Union Station right before Halloween.
When Beth Jackson, president of the ACRC Auxiliary presented the check to Sam Perroni, president of Parents and Friends of Children and Adults, Inc, which owns the facility, his jaw dropped.
“I’m never speechless,” Perroni said, “but I’m speechless.”
The UAMS Family Home is a 13,500 square-foot house with two guest wings – one for cancer patients receiving treatment at the ACRC and one for parents of babies in the UAMS neo-natal unit. The home also includes the ACRC Auxiliary Cancer Support Center.
During the last four years the ACRC Auxiliary made a commitment to give $50,000 a year to the Family Home. Because the auxiliary did not commit to a specific amount this year, the increase was a huge surprise for many of the family home supporters. The check brings the total amount given by the auxiliary to the Family Home to $300,000.
“It’s a very special place for us,” Janie Lowe, director of the ACRC volunteer services, said of the private, non-profit facility on West Markham Street, across from the UAMS campus.
Lowe said the family home was built on “a leap of faith,” which has turned into a dream come true for supporters of ACRC and the patients it serves. The funds raised by the ACRC Auxiliary go a long way in helping to pay for the center, which was built in November 2002, but Lowe said a significant amount is still owed on the construction.
Lowe said 2004 has been a tremendous year for the ACRC Auxiliary and its three fund-raising activities – the ACRC Gift Shop, Cooks Tour and Partners Card. Overall, the ACRC Auxiliary raised about $175,000.
There is hardly enough room to turn around in the ACRC Gift Shop, but it is crammed full of fun, uplifting surprises and items that cancer patients might not easily find in other places. The gift shop is located on the first floor of the ACRC and is a favorite place for patients to visit while waiting for appointments.
“It’s a happy place,” Lowe said, explaining that they try to keep a good supply of crazy hats and cheerful items and cater to the tastes of the staff and patients. The little store raised more than $60,000 this past year.
The Cooks Tour started in 1991 and has been growing ever since, Lowe said. The event begins on a Friday with a $100-a-plate Cooks Tour Patrons’ Cocktail Buffet at an elegant Little Rock home. The buffet honors an individual from ACRC and features culinary delights from some of the top chefs in the city. On Sunday, for $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event, attendees can spend the afternoon touring four Little Rock homes and enjoying samples from the chefs cooking in each kitchen. This year, about 200 people attended the cocktail buffet and about 600 people enjoyed the tour.
The 2005 Cooks Tour will be Friday, April 15, and Sunday, April 17. Deborah Erwin, Ph.D., associate professor in the division of breast surgical oncology in the UAMS College of Medicine and director of cancer education, will be the 2005 Cook’s Tour honoree.
2004 was the first year for the ACRC Auxiliary Partners Card, and Lowe said it was a tremendous success. By purchasing a $50 Partners Card, people received a 20 percent discount at more than 100 top stores in Little Rock the week of Oct. 30. Proceeds from the sale of the cards went to the ACRC Auxiliary. Lowe said the cards generated about $58,000 this year and are expected to sell even better next year. The Partners Card Week for 2005 will be Oct. 29 through Nov. 6.
The remainder of funds raised by the ACRC Auxiliary will be used to provide equipment and supplies at the ACRC and it s outreach programs, wigs for cancer patients and educational materials.
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