Toast to Twenty Years

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Photography by Jamison Mosley | Makeup by Angie Lane with Barbara Jean

Jewelry from Sissy’s Log CabinShot on location at Flora Jean’s 

  Chocolate Fantasy Ball returns next month for the 20th anniversary of this signature event. Considered the most delectable evening in the Capital City, guests can anticipate more than 8,000 chocolate confections and everything that pairs well with chocolate to be showcased at the ball. The sweetest treat will be celebrating the organization’s mission fulfillment work – offering families a home away from home when a child is hospitalized in Central Arkansas. Chairmen Ashley and Eric Mangham will welcome friends to this extraordinary evening of chocolate and charity.

   Presented by Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Eric was initially introduced to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas through the company’s commitment to the organization. As Arkansas Federal Credit Union CFO, Eric reflects these values – serving on the RMHCA Board of Directors with considerable contributions in finance, governance, and executive teams. Eric has been fundamental in the expansion of services including the Ronald McDonald Family Room located at UAMS – a common area and overnight accommodations for families whose infants are in the care of the NICU team. He adds, “I love working with the other volunteers and the amazing Ronald McDonald House staff to further the mission of offering families of hospitalized children the opportunity to refresh, rest and reflect near the treatment center.”

   This power of community inspired Ashley to get involved. She explains, “I called the Ronald McDonald House and asked how could I help.” Whether its administrative support, cooking meals or working at the Kid’s Korner – Ashley remains passionate about her family’s continued support. “Central Arkansas is fortunate to have wonderful hospitals that treat children. Not every child in Arkansas has easy access to these hospitals and Ronald McDonald House is here to help. Because of donors, the Ronald McDonald House provides free lodging, meals and other services for these families.”

   The couple is motivated by the stories of the families who have experienced these familiar comforts of home. “When I witness the impact, it confirms I’m right where I need to be.” Ashley remembers one mother whose daughter unexpectedly became very ill and was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital by MedFlight. “The mother flew to Little Rock with her daughter while the dad stayed home in Oklahoma with their other small child. As tears filled her eyes, she told me how blown away she was with everyone’s generosity. Her world was turned upside down just a few days before, and she was so very thankful for the Ronald McDonald House.”

   Proceeds from Chocolate Fantasy Ball provide more than 1,200 families annually the opportunity to remain near a child receiving treatment at Arkansas Children’s Hospital or UAMS. Eric and Ashley look forward to a celebratory toast to this kindness and generosity. Eric notes, “I always leave the Chocolate Fantasy Ball feeling so proud of our community, our state, and the Ronald McDonald House for touching the lives of so many families.”

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