Five young Faulkner County cancer survivors were among 70 pediatric cancer patients and families visited by Santa Claus at the annual CARTI Kids Christmas Party held Nov. 17 at the Scimitar Shrine Temple in Little Rock.
CARTI Kids attending the Christmas party ranged in age from 2-18 years old, coming from all across Arkansas and as far away as Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas for the celebration. Santa delivered presents to each CARTI Kid and his or her siblings with the assistance of his "elf-for-a-day," Mrs. Arkansas 2013 Sharla Fultz of Clarksville.
Jace Schluterman, 6, of Greenbrier, was diagnosed last year with medullablastoma. A first grade student attending East Side Elementary, he is the son of Tasha and Edward Schluterman of Greenbrier.
Emmalee Harris, 6, of Conway, was diagnosed last year with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). A first grade student at Vilonia Primary School, she is the daughter of Jennifer Fitzgerald and Wesley Fason of Conway.
Haley Goodwin, 14, of Conway, was diagnosed with a non-rhabdomyosarcoma in 2009 at the age of 10. Currently a freshman at Conway Junior High, she is the daughter of Stephanie and Jason Goodwin of Conway.
Brooke Caldwell, 15, of Conway, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2002 at the age of five. She is the home-schooled daughter of Diana and Russell Caldwell of Conway.
Valaurie Adelman, 16, of Vilonia, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of two. Currently a sophomore at Vilonia Junior High, she is the daughter of Anita and Greg Adelman of Vilonia.
"Having the opportunity to bring these young survivors together each year is the best gift we could ever hope to offer the families of those who are going through, or who have gone through, the cancer diagnosis of a child," said Mary Machen, CARTI Director of Community Outreach and CARTI Kids program director.
"We celebrate so much more than the holidays at this party," Machen said. "We celebrate survivorship, and we celebrate life."
The CARTI Kids Christmas Party is funded by proceeds from the CARTI Kids Golf Classic and the CARTI Kids Memorial Trust Fund. To date, the CARTI Kids Golf Classic has raised over $3 million to date for Arkansas pediatric cancer programs and services.
CARTI is a nonprofit cancer center with multiple facilities located throughout Arkansas. The CARTI Foundation was incorporated in 1983 as a non-profit organization to assist CARTI in meeting the current and future needs of Arkansas cancer patients and their families.