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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/CARIN SCHOPPMEYER Matt and Erin Johnson, with their daughters Sydney Johnson and Tori Johnson, Color of Hope Champion Child, attend the benefit gala.

More than 1,700 Arkansas Children's Northwest champions joined the Arkansas Children's Foundation for the 12th annual Color of Hope on Aug. 2 at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers. This year's color was gold, and the gilded gala and accompanying 26th annual Will Golf 4 Kids tournament helped the group raise a record $2,103,712.

The amount completes a five-year pledge by event volunteers made in 2016 to raise $5 million for the construction of the new hospital in Springdale. The Color of Hope and Will Golf 4 Kids committees pledged this year to continue investing in programs and program development with another $5 million.

At a Glance

Color of Hope Gala

Who: Arkansas Children’s Northwest and Arkansas Children’s Foundation

What: The annual gala and accompanying golf tournament garnered more than $2.1 million for the hospital in Springdale.

When: Aug. 2

Where: John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers

Information: (479) 725-0404 or

The Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc., the 2019 Champion Sponsor, matched all $50,000 sponsors of the events dollar for dollar.

According to a press release, the funds will support the addition of a pediatric oncologist, nurses and support services staff for the hematology/oncology program and expand pharmacology services "allowing the hospital to prepare more complex treatments and keep children close to home for their cancer care."

Tori Johnson was this year's Champion Child for the benefits. She was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized brain tumor when she was 9 months old. Tori underwent surgery to have the tumor removed, chemotherapy, a stem-cell transplant and radiation therapy. Erin and Matt Johnson, Tori's parents, shared with those gathered the benefits of having treatment close to home for their family.

The hospital in Springdale includes Northwest Arkansas' only 24-hour pediatric emergency department with 30 exam rooms; pediatric surgery unit with five operating rooms; outdoor gardens; nature trails with interactive features for children; 24 inpatient beds for children requiring overnight stays; outpatient clinics offering 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; and occupational therapy services.

Those championing Children's Northwest included Johnny Mike Walker, Robin and Gary George, Cathy and David Evans, Lobat and Fadil Bayyari, Joanie and Jon Dyer, Andrew and Martha Frits, Sue and Charles Redfield, Jill and Mike Sewell, Cheri and Tony Murphy, Melanie and Kyden Reeh, Susan and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. John Boozman, Shannon Lett and Marshall Ney, Sara Diebold and Jason Myers and Mandy Macke, gala chairwoman.

For more event photos --

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at

NAN Profiles on 08/11/2019

Print Headline: Gala goes for gold

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