Fashion is Back

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By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Dero Sanford | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Wardrobe from Barbara/Jean, Dillard’s, Vesta’s 

   Allison Stodola Wilson believes in the power of community and realizes that live performances cultivate camaraderie that shifts perspectives. “When people come together for a shared experience, like theater, it’s a chance for the audience to unite and be hopeful that the future is bright,” Allison elaborates. Next month, Allison will dazzle guests at Festival of Fashion – the Capital City’s biggest + boldest runway show with a collective objective: a world without cancer. Until then, the CARTI commitment to patient-centered care remains steadfast. 

 width=   Presented by CARTI, Festival of Trees celebrates the resilient spirit of cancer survivors and the life-saving services that CARTI provides. “Festival of Trees is the best way to kick off the season!” Proceeds support the CARTI Patient Assistance Program. There is a focus on the complete wellness of each patient that defines the CARTI vision + mission. Treatment includes programs that provide emotional and spiritual support; CARTI joins in each family’s cancer journey. 

   These values are intertwined in the cancer center’s legacy of service, spanning more than four decades, and the lives that have been saved as a result. With an all-inclusive treatment center and statewide network of clinics that administer radiation + chemotherapy – more 34,000 Arkansans benefit from CARTI’s commitment to compassionate care each year. Allison adds, “We are so lucky to have a world-renowned cancer center in our state. Not only does CARTI have the best doctors and nurses, they truly care about well-being and mental health.” Education and research have evolved, but CARTI’s mission remains constant. Patients have access to the newest technology and a holistic philosophy that supports the patient and the family. When faced with a cancer diagnosis, CARTI provides assured confidence that the patient will receive the best treatment available.

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   Allison has served on the Festival of Fashion committee for more than a decade. Participating as a model, dancer and choreographer  – no task seems too trivial for this dynamo. She’s a seasoned professional in every aspect of community service. Shelia Vaught, who remains an ardent advocate for CARTI, introduced Allison to Festival of Trees. “Shelia Vaught, who I call Mrs. Shelia, from her years as director of Little Rock School of Dance, entrusted me as dance coordinator. I remain unbelievably thankful for her trust and guidance as I put together the theme and choreography for Festival of Fashion. I strive to make the audience and models feel as if they have stepped into a true fashion show!”

   The virtuosity of performing continues to resonate with Allison; it’s something she enjoys sharing with audiences. She draws inspiration from Broadway star actor-singer-dancer Ben Venreen who recently visited the Natural State. “He told us to be present. I think we all need to hear that,” she recalls. “It’s been a challenging couple of years, but if we stay present and enjoy being more in the moment – we’ll be better for it.” 

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