Two young Pine Bluff cancer survivors were among 70 pediatric cancer patients and families visited by Santa Claus at the annual CARTI Kids Christmas party held recently at the Scimitar Shrine Temple at Little Rock.

Two young Pine Bluff cancer survivors were among 70 pediatric cancer patients and families visited by Santa Claus at the annual CARTI Kids Christmas party held recently at the Scimitar Shrine Temple at 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, Missouri 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 2012 Michelle Flake of Little Rock.

Morgan Holland, 15, was diagnosed last year with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and received treatment at CARTI/UAMS at Little Rock. Currently a freshman at Watson Chapel Junior High, she is the daughter of Lolita and Darrell Holland of Pine Bluff.

Alexandria Thomas, 17, was diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumor in 2002 at the age of 8 and received treatment at CARTI/UAMS at Little Rock. A senior at St. Joseph Catholic High, she is the daughter of Kelvin Foote of Pine Bluff.

“CARTI is the primary radiation therapy provider in Arkansas for the treatment of pediatric cancer patients,” said Mary Machen, CARTI director of community outreach and CARTI Kids program director. “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.”

“At the CARTI Kids Christmas Party, we celebrate much more than the holidays,” 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 CARTI pediatric cancer programs and services. In addition to the annual Christmas party, CARTI Kids also participate in other CARTI-sponsored activities throughout the year such as summer trips and weekend retreats.

CARTI is a nonprofit cancer care center with facilities located throughout Arkansas in Little Rock on the St. Vincent, Baptist Medical Center and UAMS campuses, and in Conway, Mountain Home, North Little Rock, and Searcy.