December 20, 2019

Annual Donation to UAMS Breast Cancer Program Brings Ashley County Cares Total to $437,000

LITTLE ROCK — For 15 years, a small but determined group in south Arkansas has impacted the lives of thousands of women across the state.

Known as Ashley County Cares, this organization’s dedication to the fight against breast cancer has resulted in a total of $437,000 in donations to the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

It all started when friends Bernice Nelms and Donna Shields wanted to honor Nelms’ mother in her fight against breast cancer.

“We wanted to do something meaningful, and it just evolved from there,” Shields said.

The women, along with fellow members Lori Pennington, Kayla Alexander and Sarah Brockwell, visited the Cancer Institute on Dec. 16 to make their latest donation: $24,000 divided equally between the breast cancer research and education programs.

The donation was presented to Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS Winthrop P Rockefeller Cancer Institute director, and Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., professor and chief of Breast Oncology.

“We are grateful for this remarkable group of volunteers and their tireless work to improve the health of women in Arkansas,” Birrer said.

In recognition of their years of service, Henry-Tillman presented the members with an engraved crystal award and announced that the group’s name had been added to the Cancer Institute’s donor wall.

“We recognize the important work of Ashley County Cares and want to ensure their lasting recognition at the Cancer Institute. We hope their example will inspire other groups across the state to join the fight against cancer. Working together, we can accomplish so much,” Henry-Tillman said.

Ashley County Cares’ donations are raised through their annual events, including two T-shirt sales, a dinner and auction, and the Armadillo Festival 5K run/one-mile walk.