Butterfly Swamp Fun Run leads to UALR scholarship

University of Arkansas at Little Rock students have a new scholarship option, thanks to the efforts of a family still coping with the tragic loss of two children.

In 2013, Ryan Palludan was set to begin classes at UALR when he died of complications from previously undiagnosed Loeys-Dietz syndrome — a connective tissue disorder that can affect vessels attached to the heart.

Philip and Deborah Palludan recently held a thank-you celebration for sponsors and helpers at the Butterfly Swamp 5K Fun Run, which raised money for a memorial scholarship honoring the memory of their two children.
Philip and Deborah Palludan recently held a thank-you celebration for sponsors and helpers at the Butterfly Swamp 5K Fun Run, which raised money for a memorial scholarship honoring the memory of their two children.

A year later, Ryan’s sister Katherine, also a UALR student, died following multiple heart surgeries. She had the same condition.

Philip and his wife, Deborah, sought to honor their children’s memories, first by establishing an endowed award and then by expanding it into a scholarship fund.

Starting in the fall, the Katherine and Ryan Palludan Endowed Scholarship will provide $1,000 to a UALR student to help cover education-related expenses, including room and board, tuition, books, and fees. Preference will be given to students from Arkansas who demonstrate strong leadership and community service and who are working toward a degree in biology, nursing, geology, or anthropology. Academic accomplishment and financial need will be strong considerations.

Sponsors and participants helped Deborah and Philip Palludan raise about $12,000 in the May Butterfly Swamp 5K Fun Run on the UALR campus. Half of the proceeds go to the new endowed scholarship fund, and the other half will benefit the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation for research.

The couple recently hosted a celebration at their Bryant home to thank sponsors and others who contributed to the success of the Butterfly Swamp 5K. In the future, the Palludans plan to make the 5K an annual activity, with a goal of further increasing scholarship money available to students.

For more information about the numerous scholarships offered at UALR, click here.

To find out more about future Butterfly Swamp 5K Fun Run events, “like” the event’s page on Facebook.

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