It was a night of friends and fashion, and it was all for a worthy cause. Seventeen men, wearing stylish attire, strutted up and down the runway to help take a stand for cancer at the 19th annual Bill Fleeman Gentlemen of Distinction gala.
Since its inception in 2004, the gala has continued to grow yearly while raising nearly $2.8 million for Hope Cancer Resources. The monies raised support the organization’s mission to provide compassionate, professional cancer support and education in Northwest Arkansas. The event honors the legacy of Bill Fleeman, founder of America’s Car-Mart. And Car-Mart is a proud sponsor of this worthy initiative, having supported the event for 14 years.
Car-Mart’s man of distinction is Mike Rains, Vice President of Collections. He joined Car-Mart in 2008 as a Future Manager in Fayetteville. During his Car-Mart career, he’s held numerous leadership positions in training, associate development, purchasing, operations and collections.
Cancer is personal to Mike
Mike’s wife, Erin, is a cancer survivor. Ten years ago, Erin was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Mike noticed a lump on her throat, so they went to the doctor to learn more. Then they obtained a second opinion.
“It was a difficult experience. Erin developed many complications, and she developed a rare disease from the thyroidectomy,” Mike says. “It’s been a roller coaster. It’s an ongoing rare disease we still manage going forward.”
“We’ve lived through these struggles, so we can relate,” continues Mike, while adding his brother-in-law, Mike Gilbreath, has stage IV colon cancer. “So, I’ll be dedicating my walk to Mike.”
“It’s important to raise awareness about cancer.”
“Hope Cancer Resources is a great organization that provides support for cancer patients and their families. These people can get help in a very difficult time, and I’m glad to be a part of that. Supporting any program that helps provide support to someone affected by cancer or family members by the death of a loved one is something we can all get behind.
These things are usually out of sight, out of mind until you’re affected by it. So, this event increases your awareness.”
“It’s a privilege to represent Car-Mart.”
“Car-Mart has done so much for me. The company was supportive when Erin was battling her cancer. And with Hope Cancer Resources, and ties to Bill Fleeman, it’s an honor to represent the company in any capacity because of who we are and what we stand for.
Our company is one of compassion. And we want to do all we can to help people and pay it forward. Compassion is one of our company’s core values, and Hope Cancer Resources shares this same sentiment.
Want to know more?
Check out our blog, Honoring Bill Fleeman, Car-Mart’s Founder
Learn more about Hope Cancer Resources: Making a Difference since 2004