Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte for the Pink House Continues to Break Records
The cheering crowd, the glimmering costumes, the judges' scores, and spectacular dancing...
The 4th annual Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte for the Pink House, March 30th at Knight Theater, had it all and then some--all focused on raising funds for Carolina Breast Friends' mission.
WBTV's Molly Grantham was again the emcee of the show, joined this year by the NFL's Kurt Coleman. Both Molly and Kurt have personal connections to the cause. Molly lost her mother to breast cancer in 2017, and Kurt's father was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and underwent a mastectomy. Together, they used that passion, along with their talent and celebrity, to keep the show flowing without ever losing sight of the powerful reason behind the event: helping ease the journey for women and men with breast cancer.
Although in its fourth year, this year's event had a number of firsts:
The event raised a record $816,600 (and counting!), bringing the total raised in the history of the event to nearly $2.5 million!
Three of this year's Stars were themselves breast cancer survivors, dancing as an empowering symbol of resilience and hope.
What wasn't a first was the high energy of the audience and the dazzling and moving performances throughout the night. Star after star, with their professional dance partners, wowed the judges and the audience alike.
The top fundraiser was not only a breast cancer survivor, but also was the highest fundraiser in the history of the event, raising more than $110,000!
"I loved every single dance!" said audience member Rebecca Drendel. Audience member Stephanie Durso agreed, "We enjoyed every single minute of the show! [It was] incredibly entertaining, and we are already looking forward to attending next year!"
The show is modelled after the popular Dancing with the Stars television show. Local Stars, paired with professional dancers, learn and perform a number that is scored by judges from the professional dance world while audience members vote for their favorite star by making donations to Carolina Breast Friends. Each dollar donated is equivalent to one vote.
Thirteen Stars took the stage at this year's show: Nick Clavin, MD, JoBrent Austin-Diehl, Amanda Hibberts, Anitha Leonard, MD, Davis Ligon, DDS, Kat Weeks Mulford, Joey Profeta, Dee Schwab, Heather Sendler, Mary Bryan Smith, Cel Thompson, Shane Wagner, and Hayes Woollen, MD. Judges for the night were choreographers Jena Burgin-Peters and Tod A. Kubo and world-renowned competitive dance champion Beata Oneafater.
So who won this year? Kat Weeks Mulford won Top Fundraiser, raising more than $110,000, followed by Nick Clavin, MD, Mary Bryan Smith and Dee Schwab, who each raised between $78,000 and $83,000. The Crowd Pleaser award went to Nick Clavin, MD, who, with his professional dance partner Emily Guthrie, danced a Lindy Hop filled with tricks that brought the audience to their feet. The Judge's Choice winner was Cel Thompson, fitness professional and founder of the "Be Amazing" fitness enterprise, who performed a Salsa number with her professional dance partner Trevor Guthrie.
Special thanks goes to the DWTS Planning Committee, consisting of the event's Co-Creators, Felipe Gonzalez Edmiston and Claire Talley, along with Shana Fox--who have each given countless hours to this event since the very beginning--as well as CBF staff Amber Tracewell (planning committee Chair), Pam Young, and Brittany Garrett; CBF board members Beth Harrelson and Pam Phipps; and CBF Executive Director Lynn Erdman. Special thanks also goes to presenting sponsor Novant Health.
Best yet, the record outpouring of care and funds from this event directly support Carolina Breast Friends' mission and work. Awareness fueled by the event has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of women and men coming through the doors of Carolina Breast Friends' Pink House, and the funds raised have helped allow the organization to increase the infrastructure, programs and services needed to meet the need. For example:
Carolina Breast Friends delivers as many as 30 sessions a month in the areas of Wellbeing, Support, Self-Image, Nutrition and Education--all free to women and men experiencing breast cancer.
The Pink House receives, on average, more than 175 visits a month from breast cancer survivors at all points in their journey. For many of them it's the first stop they make--and a safe landing place--after learning of their diagnosis.
Carolina Breast Friends distributes free wigs to women losing their hair to chemotherapy, as well as bras, prosthesis and hundreds of comfort bags filled with items to help ease the experience of chemotherapy and radiation.
Carolina Breast Friends has added mentors and infrastructure to its 1:1 Mentoring Program that matches newly diagnosed women and men with survivors who have been through similar diagnosis and treatment experiences.
When one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, the need for supportive activities and community for women and men with breast cancer is significant. Clearly then, the real winners from this event are all the people Carolina Breast Friends serves every day at the Pink House. Now that's something to dance about!
Carolina Breast Friends continues to make inroads into the Latin American community with La Casa Rosada con Latinas.
By Pam Young
Contributor: Shana Fox