It was another record-breaking year for Dancing for the Kids! The 7th annual fundraising event, hosted by the Emerging Leaders of Akron Children’s Hospital, raised $200,000 to benefit the School and Community Oncology Outreach Program (SCOOP) at Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders.
The event, presented by Adams, Gut & Associates, featured 10 local celebrities who performed on the Akron Civic Theatre stage with their University of Akron dance partners to raise money for Akron Children’s –
- Nicole Dix – Customer Service Manager, Wells Fargo
- John Fargo – Director, Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center, and Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist, Akron Children’s Hospital
- Elizabeth Gerard – Women’s Board, Akron Children’s Hospital
- Kristian Hoeh – Vice President and General Auditor, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Amy Cook Lyden – Past Owner and Current Instructor, Yoga Lounge, Hudson, OH
- Frankie Martina – Board Member, Showers Family Foundation
- Michelle O’Brien – Executive Store Leader, Portage Crossing Giant Eagle Market District
- Dan Tompkins – Partner, Ernst & Young
- Pano Tsarouhas – Patient at Akron Children’s Hospital
- Patrick Winslow – Manager of Strategic Pricing and Marketing Analytics, FedEx Custom Critical
Some of the evening’s fan favorites included Dr. Fargo, who started his routine wearing a chicken suit and said he learned some things from his wife and daughter who are both dancers, and Michelle O’Brien, who worked popular dance moves flossing and dabbing into her routine. She even got judges Vish Bhatt and Justin Hilton and emcee Keith Kennedy, from 98.1 KDD, to attempt flossing on stage, much to the audience’s delight.
“My kids told me not to floss, so that was the first thing I told McKenna (her University of Akron dance partner) I wanted to do,” O’Brien told the judges after her performance.
The judges for the event included Hilton, senior administrator, community outreach at Kent State University; Bhatt, operations manager for the Showers Family Center at Akron Children’s; and Patricia Parianos, raw materials planning lead, Americas supply chain at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
The judges only gave one perfect score that evening – to Akron Children’s cancer patient Pano Tsarouhas. Tsarouhas completed chemotherapy and radiation for Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in May and is a sophomore at Revere Local Schools. He performed a traditional Greek dance that he said he has done “countless times,” with his sister and cousin joining him and his University of Akron dance partner on stage and the crowd clapping along.
Tsarouhas received the “Best Dancer” mirror ball trophy and also raised the most money of the dancers with $38,800.
Kristian Hoeh and Amy Cook Lyden also took home mirror ball trophies for their fundraising efforts – Hoeh raised $23,523 and Lyden raised $26,682.
At the end of the night, $181,760 was announced as the fundraising total, but an anonymous donor came forward after the event and said they would like to contribute the remainder to bring the total to $200,000.
“Everyone’s hard work and generosity with this event always blows me away and this year was no exception,” said Machelle Syx, corporate alliance program manager at Akron Children’s. “We’re so grateful to the dancers, the Emerging Leaders and the community for supporting this event and the Showers Family Center.”
Enjoy more photos from the fundraising event below –