It was better than Cinderella’s Ball- It transformed dreams to reality for nine of us. It was a true Celebration of Life Dance! It was the 2008 Pink Tie Gala on October 4th at the Richmond Omni Hotel. Nine Breast Cancer Survivors & our nine instructors danced with joy in honor of every man & woman that has been touched by Breast Cancer.
Several months ago, Susan entered our lives. She is a mother. She knows that 1 out of 8 women are being diagnosed with Breast Cancer today. She wanted to take a personal stand to combat those statistics! So, with an idea of raising Breast Cancer Awareness to the Richmond community as well as raising funds for the Richmond Affiliate of Susan Komen for the Cure the Pink Tie Gala was born. Some of us met Susan when she attended one of our weekly Breast Cancer Support Meetings at The Hawthorne Cancer Resource Center and others met her in other circles. The 9 of us were in various stages of cancer treatment. I was still recovering from a mastectomy & receiving Chemotherapy. Susan had put together a successful P.T.G. event a year earlier but a new idea formed to make it an even better event this year. She pitched her idea of having us survivors become the faces of Breast Cancer to raise the community awareness and also to entertain the hundreds of Gala attendees that would donate money to further the research. The idea of spending several months during the spring/summer learning a ballroom dance was not only enticing because it has been a secret dream of mine but it was just the challenge I needed to get me through the worst of the cancer treatments. When Susan called for volunteers, my hand was high in the air before I really gave it much thought. There were other hands being held just as high. That was no surprise- Susan came to the right women. We are all blessed & we thank God for each of His blessings. We are givers. We love life. We share our hearts & we fill them up for others. This was another blessing being put into the lives of each one of us. No one gave the challenges we would be faced with a second thought. We all agreed that dancing was a great way to Celebrate Life! (I suspect that I was not the only one in the room that harbored dreams of being “Cinderella” for a night or had desires to contribute something meaningful to the community.)
Did I mention that NONE of us could dance? Some of us are even musically challenged & couldn’t even count beats! Some of us were once blonde! Some of us have been financially strained due to the cost of living plus the costs of our cancer treatments but we found a way to fit the extra costs into our budgets. We were so grateful to Eleanor, the owner of Rigby’s Jig Dance Studio, for donating the time & venue for our lessons. She even taught 6 beautiful children to dance & perform at the Gala as well! Susan helped us in many ways with the financial hurdles & we were better able to concentrate on our dance steps! We spent 2 glorious months of dragging our tired, worn out & sometimes sick bodies to Rigby’s Jig. No matter how much our feet hurt or our hips burned, we smiled- stumbled- laughed- danced the wrong direction & we always radiated pure joy! We met some very special people during this time- and through this venture we formed lifelong friendships. Tina, Lynn, Sherry, Maggi, Marianne, Kay, Windy, Karen and myself, Heidi, finally (miraculously) graduated out of the Ballroom Crash Dance Lessons & were individually paired with 9 wonderful “volunteer” partners that would teach us the dance of our choice. They were brave men! Very generous men! They endured our lack of dance experience, “chemo brains” & physical limitations to transform us into Dancing Queens! In just 6 quick weeks, we emerged onto the dance floor at the Omni Hotel pair by pair, and we danced for YOU! You can find out more about us, and this wonderful annual event at www.pinktiegala.org. We hope to see you there next year! Meanwhile…we will all keep dancing in Celebration of Life!
CLICK ON THEIR PICTURES TO GO TO THE DANCERS PAGE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEM AND SOON WATCH VIDEO OF THEIR PROGRESS.
Video / Slideshow disclaimer
If the pictures look like the dancers are dancing alone or with blurred imagines, please understand. They started with a group class full of camera shy people who didn't want to be in the video and some major editing had to be done.
All of our dancers great partners have volunteered their time and come to us from Rigby's Jig Dance Studio.
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