Local dance studios are coming together Saturday in Lee University’s Conn Center to raise money for Bradley County Relay for Life.
Cancer survivor Kathey Kramer said she wanted to have a “Dancing for a Cure” event in Cleveland after seeing how successful they’ve been in McMinn County.
“I’m a cancer survivor,” Kramer said. “I had cancer in my throat and tonsils.”
That was four years ago.
Now, Kramer is working with Bradley County Relay committee member Christine Thomas in organizing this event.
A panel of judges will critique performances by area dancers and their “Star” partners. Judges’ ratings count for 40 percent of the points. The remaining 60 percent will be decided by the audience.
“Each person who presents a ticket at the door will be given a ballot to vote for their favorite ‘Star Dancers,’” Kramer said.
Tickets are being sold at participating studios and by participants. Tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the event.
“We will present three awards at the benefit: Most Entertaining, Judges Award, and our 2014 Overall “Dancing for A Cure” Star Winner Award,” Kramer said.
Competing dance couples include Tommy Wright of Cleveland State Community College with Carrie Kramar of Momentum Academy Dance, Matt Bentley of Bendabout Properties with Alexis Ziarkowski of Lee University’s Unity Dance Troupe, Cleveland High School teacher and cheer coach Melissa Barnett with Zumba instructor Kenisha Smith, Danielle Farrell of Raw Entertainment Dance Company with Momentum Academy Dance's James Fassell and Cleveland Dance & Performing Arts Center's Jacob Carrell and Desmond Smith. Group performances will also be presented by each studio and Cleveland Ballet while votes are being tallied.
“My mother went through cancer four years ago. Everybody knows somebody [who] is associated with cancer. I also had a student who had a brother who went through cancer as well at a young age,” Kramer said.
Wright said he knew his participation would surprise some people, which he thought might help him sell more tickets to the event. He said Carrie Kramer has made learning the dance easier for him.
“Dancing for a Cure” will start with a solo presentation by cancer survivor Madie Hall. Madie had a brain tumor when she was 3 years old.
“The doctors told us that Madie’s tumor was very large and it took up almost the entire right side of her brain,” said Sasha Hall, Madie’s mother. “They said it was the size of a softball. The doctors were very grim and not very optimistic. They told us that it was really bad and Madie would be in the hospital a long time. Little did they know that God had other plans for Madie.”
Madie underwent five hours of surgery.
“The surgery went exceptionally well and the surgeon was able to remove 90 percent of the tumor without any complications,” Hall said. “Madie made a miraculous recovery and was able to go home three days later. Since the surgeon was not able to remove all of Madie’s tumor, they wanted her to do chemotherapy to kill any remaining tumor cells.
“Madie did weekly chemotherapy treatments for a one year. She did not lose her hair or get very sick, and she was able to keep going to dance class. Madie finished her last chemo treatment in February 2009. She has been tumor and cancer free ever since,” Hall said.
Kramer said she has not set a financial goal for the event, but hopes there’s a good turnout.
The “Dancing for a Cure” event starts at 3 p.m.