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Union County Circle of Friends to hold benefit event for Arkansas Children’s

Posted on June 20, 2019

A morning of family fun will benefit state children’s hospital

By Caitlan Butler
Staff Writer

The Union County Circle of Friends will host their first ever Walk with Champions this Saturday, bringing a morning of family fun to El Dorado to benefit Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“We’re really just trying to make it a fun, lighthearted experience,” said Emily Mitchell, development officer for the Arkansas Children’s Foundation. “And maybe eat 4,000 snow cones.”

The Union County Circle of Friends is made up of local volunteers that help to raise money for Arkansas Children’s. There are other Circles of Friends in other regions of the state, including Magnolia and Texarkana. Mitchell said in 2018, the Circles of Friends raised a cool $1 million.

“Throughout the state these people have gotten together because they feel passionate about the mission at Arkansas Children’s and want to help them raise money,” Mitchell said.

This weekend, the Union County Circle will host a Walk with Champions, inviting members of the community to enjoy a family-friendly morning of fun and participate in a Memorial Walk for the children fighting at Arkansas Children’s.

Primarily sponsored by Delek, the event has brought local businesses out to help as well. Dairy Queen will donate Dilly Bars for attendees, while The Frigid Frog will also be on scene to serve snow cones.

“There will be face painting and bounce houses. It’ll be just a really fun morning,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said it will be up to attendees if they would like to walk a mile in memory of the children at Arkansas Children’s.

“We wanted to do a walk, just kind of a memorial walk. If you wanted to go in and walk a mile or as many laps as you want just in honor of all the children who fought and those who are continuing to fight at Arkansas Children’s,” she said.

The Circle of Friends typically hold several events throughout the year in Union County. In the spring, they hold an a la carte event, Mitchell said, while in the fall they hold a radiothon, with all proceeds benefitting the hospital.

Arkansas Children’s is the only hospital dedicated specifically to children’s health care in the state. Their mission is to make children healthier both today and in the future.

“Our vision is to fundamentally change health care delivery for the children of Arkansas,” Mitchell said.

The Circle of Friends helps with those efforts by giving a local face to the hospital’s mission. Arkansas Children’s has made many outreach efforts in recent months, including creating a Nursery Alliance with the Medical Center of South Arkansas, designed to improve neo-natal care in the region, as well as less clinical efforts, like giving lessons on babysitting or proper use of a car seat.

“The visible impact is the community outreach that the Circle of Friends helps create,” Mitchell said. “They’re really instrumental in creating ties in communities.”

At Saturday’s event, hot dogs will be served alongside the sweet treats; the hot dogs will be grilled by David Nelson, a world champion steak griller who will be competing in Main Street El Dorado’s Grill Wars later that day.

Those interested in attending Saturday’s event will be able to register in advance, or at the event. For adults, attendance will cost $25, while for children it costs $10; proceeds will all go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

The Walk with Champions will take place Saturday at Memorial Stadium from 9 to 11 a.m. Mitchell noted that Kerry Jackson leads the Union County Circle of Friends; she could not be reached by press time, but Mitchell said she has been integral in helping to raise funds for Arkansas Children’s.

“It could not have happened without her,” she said. “She has a direct tie to Arkansas Children’s through her grandchildren, and she is very passionate about the work that Arkansas Children’s does and is excited to always raise money. She does incredible work.”

To register in advance of the event, visit or

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or