LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mark your calendars for an upcoming event that's not only important for all Arkansans but is also a lot of fun too.
The 3rd annual "Be a Part of the Cure Walk", organized by the UAMS Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute, is meant to honor all cancer patients, their families, and loved ones.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, at War Memorial Stadium. Registration can be completed online or onsite beginning at 6:30 a.m.
We recently spent some time with Kenan Keyes, who is a volunteer on the committee at UAMS responsible for planning the event.
"It's so exciting. There is enthusiasm in the air," Keyes said.
Keyes became a volunteer at UAMS's cancer institute after her own diagnosis of breast cancer in 2020 when a routine mammogram revealed the early-stage disease.
She said that the level of excellence and care by the hospital staff inspired her to get involved.
As a retired middle school math teacher, Keye said she spends much of her free time volunteering for various organizations.
The goal of the walk is to reduce the number of cancers among Arkansans while striving to raise money to find a cure.
Money from the event's registration feed goes toward advancing cancer research in the state— and last year alone, more than $242,000 was raised.
Keyes added that while the event is defined as a walk, it's far more than that.
There will be options for a 1K and 5K that will be wheelchair and stroller accessible, presentations, vendors, doctors onsite answering health questions, a Kids Discovery Zone, and a special tree with ribbons available to remember someone special to you who suffered from cancer.
Keyes explained that the tree and its symbolism can be emotional— but UAMS tries to include ribbons representing many cancer types so no one feels left out.
"Everybody is just happy, happy to be here, and to know that what they're doing is raising money for their cancer! Not just breast cancer, or this cancer, but their cancer," Keyes described.
As a survivor herself, Keyes knows that cancer remains an insidious disease and that any effort to help the cause is worth it for all of us.
"Everybody, there's probably not one single person, well maybe not the entire world, but who's not touched by cancer somehow, because it's so prevalent," Keyes said.