- an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.
“I’ve never dreamed of what we started would have grown so fast but I guess when you take a nudge from God and do what he tells you to do, this is what it ends up doing.”
Those were the words spoken by visionary, Misti Coker, at the Game Changer Dinner held Thursday, October 17 at the Grand Prairie Center to the many supporters who watched what was once a vision of hers turn into reality.
Misti is a former Stuttgart School District educator who took a leap of faith and followed her passion, turning trials into triumph.
Misti is the founder of Personal Pep Rally, a non-profit 501c3 organization. Personal Pep Rally motivates, encourages and educates those who are affected by cancer.
Through her organization, Pass on Joy and Endure the Dirt were birthed.
When Misti’s son-in-law, Marc Stringer, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2016, her family learned how important it was to have that positive support system.
Pass on Joy was inspired by their experience.
“Everyone needs a support system,” said Misti to the crowd of cancer survivors, caregivers and supporters.
What started two years ago as a self-funded project of a few boxes a month has increased abundantly.
Pass On Joy volunteers get together to send words of encouragement along with small and frequent gifts of Joy Mail to cancer patients.
“The one thing that we love to do at Personal Pep Rally is our Joy Mail,” said Misti. “As of today, we have 240 patients, 60 towns in Arkansas and 26 states.”
Endure The Dirt is a 5k-adventure mud run organized by Misti to raise money for cancer patients and their caregivers. Held at Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, the 3rd Annual Adventure Race is slated for March 14, 2020.
Misti is also the author of “Game On”, a book that offers support and guidance to cancer patients and their families.
“This book was written not only by us but by many who have many lessons and tips to share about cancer,” said Misti in a previous interview. “Our main concern was we didn’t want for the patient or family member to buy the book. We wanted to give the book and other items away to cancer patients, so from day one; they will have something to guide them.”
Known as the Football Doctor and former wide receiver coach at Arkansas, Fitz Hill, has teamed up with Misti to help promote her cause to help comfort and offer support to families impacted by cancer.
“Last year I spoke at Rotary in Stuttgart and I shared how cancer had caused me a tremendous amount of emotional grief by taking the lives of my father at the age of 51 and my oldest brother at 41,” said Hill. “After I finished speaking, I was approached by Misti Coker of Stuttgart and she shared the stress her family was experiencing caused by cancer.”
A bond was created and over the course of their relationship, Misti asked Hill to write the foreword for her book. “It took him 8 months to write it,” said Misti.
Hill goes on to say how inspirational the book is and how Misti’s game plan supports patients and family members in need during the trying times.
“What I found out Thursday night at The Game On Fundraiser is that former Razorback center, Joe Klein recently lost his brother to cancer,” said Hill. “Also, Coach Rip is currently fighting the disease.”
Her book has touched the hearts of many including ABC’s Good Morning America news anchor Robin Roberts, who is also a cancer survivor. In a personalized letter written to Misti, Robin thanks her for sharing her story.
Robin writes, “Your family’s incredible story will serve as a great source of courage and inspiration for so many people that may be going through a similar situation or difficult time.”
Now Personal Pep Rally and Carti-Stuttgart have partnered to provide support for cancer patients that most wouldn’t realize the importance of it actually being.
Lauren Stringer, the daughter of Misti whose husband Marc Stringer is currently battling cancer, gave her testimony on how she couldn’t control life or death, but what she could control is comfort.
A Carti facility houses right here in Stuttgart providing services for Southeast Arkansas. Over the past year, they have treated over 500 patients with 180 of those patients from Stuttgart.
“It was brought to my attention that all Carti facilities were not created equal,” said Lauren.
For 4 to 6 hours every 3 weeks cancer patients receive chemotherapy bound to a chair the entire time. Many of the chemo drugs cause extreme sensitivity to cold.
Heated recliners provided comfort to the cancer patients and they also accommodated the patient if they fell asleep, due to their large size.
Unfortunately, Carti-Stuttgart does not have this luxury as the hub for all of Southeast Arkansas.
The Heat The Seats Campaign organized by Personal Pep Rally and Carti-Stuttgart seeks to raise $90,000 in order to purchase 12 recliners outfitted with heated seats for patients to sit in while they receive their chemotherapy treatments.
“We are the hub for Southeast Arkansas and we want our Carti-Stuttgart to be up to par as all the other Carti’s around the state,” said Misti.
You can mail a check and put Heat the Seat in the Memo to:
Personal Pep Rally
1920 S. Main Street
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Or donate at
To learn more about Pass On Joy, Endure the Dirt, to sign-up or to donate contact Misti Coker by phone at 870-830-0528 or by email at [email protected]