The 6th annual Dancing for the Kids event, hosted by the Emerging Leaders of Akron Children’s Hospital and presented by Northwestern Mutual, raised a record-breaking $155,613 to benefit cancer research at the hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancers and Blood Disorders.
Dance Unlimited, a therapeutic dance program at Akron Children’s for patients of all abilities, set the stage for the event at the Akron Civic Theatre with three inspiring performances. Then, Melissa Fashinpaur, principal, Advisory Services at Ernst & Young, kicked off the celebrity dances with a performance to Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful.”
“It was an amazing experience start to finish,” Fashinpaur told the judges following her performance.
In all, 10 local celebrities took to the stage Friday night with their dance partners from the University of Akron Dance Program who choreographed the routines.
- Mike Abood – Managing Director of Operations, FedEx Custom Critical
- Sarah Adams – Pediatrician, Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Hudson
- Abigail Calderone – Patient at Akron Children’s Hospital
- Tsulee Chen – Director, Pediatric Neurosurgery and Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Akron Children’s Hospital
- Marti Correa – Assistant Treasurer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
- Melissa Fashinpaur – Principal, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young
- Beth Kartarius – Fiduciary Advisor, Vice President, PNC Wealth Management
- Sue Locke – Women’s Board, Akron Children’s Hospital
- Kevin Malick – Private Banking Vice President, First National Bank
- Chris Mastriano – Senior Client Development Consultant, Thomson Reuters
Dr. Adams and Dr. Chen were crowd favorites that evening and surprised the audience with their moves. Both came from dancing backgrounds, Dr. Adams was a dance major at the University of Akron at one point and Dr. Chen had experience dancing hip-hop.
“That was the most creative, most energetic routine I’ve seen in 5 years,” said judge Kevin Tichnell after Dr. Adams came on stage in a light-up suit, hat and gloves dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”
The judges for the event included Tichnell, vice president, mergers and acquisitions at Sequoia Financial Group; Theresa Carter, president of OMNOVA Solutions Foundation; and Dr. Norm Christopher, chair of the department of pediatrics at Akron Children’s. KDD’s Keith Kennedy emceed the event.
After receiving perfect scores from the judges, patient Abbey Calderone took home the mirror ball trophy for “Best Dancer” for her performance to “Friend Like Me” from the movie “Aladdin.” Calderone is a cancer survivor who was treated at Akron Children’s for a type of bone cancer known as osteosarcoma. After beating cancer, she battled a staph infection twice and decided in November 2016 to get her leg amputated. Calderone also raised $25,797 for the event.
Correa was awarded the “Top Fundraiser” mirror ball trophy after raising $27,980, and Dr. Adams also received an award for raising $20,859.
“Our dancers this year went above and beyond when it came to fundraising,” said Machelle Syx, corporate alliance coordinator at Akron Children’s. “We’re so grateful to them and to Emerging Leaders for putting this event on year after year.”
Enjoy these photos from the event, too.