Fundraiser fights back against cancer
Cancer has a way of touching just about everyone. More than 1 million new cases occur each year.
The fifth annual Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser takes place Saturday at Harrah’s Metropolis Casino. Twenty contestants will take the floor dancing with professional partners to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
“I deal with cancer every day as a disability claim person,” said Erin Diel, who works at the Social Security Administration and is participating in this year’s event. “There are new people who come in every day with their families. When I was asked to do this, I thought about that a lot.”
It isn’t dancing that wins the competition, although awards for the top three dancers have been added. Winning is based solely on fundraising. Each contestant has been able to raise money since September through selling tickets, donating to the silent auction and selling sponsor tables and ads. This year has also had a new development: contestants raising money through individual fundraisers.
“All of the sudden this year you see people taking their own time and going beyond just soliciting ticket sales and donations from friends and family,” coordinator Rita Bailey said. “These are some big events that are bringing in more money to the cause. It’s very exciting.”
Several contestants have gone above and beyond to raise money for the cause. Diel used a Sweetheart 5K over Valentine’s Day weekend to raise extra funds, while Zumba instructor Ayrie Crump has sought donations through her classes. SuperValu vice president H.B. Banks allowed each customer the option of making a donation at checkout.
“It has been a lot of work and has been very consuming,” Diel said. “It’s taken up a lot of time, but the fundraising is the most important thing here. It is so worth it.”
Dancing With Our Stars raised $16,000 the first year, but each year has seen steady increases in money. Last year’s event turned in $93,500. With tickets sold out and private donations still coming in, the goal of $100,000 isn’t far from reach.
“We just have so many ways to donate,” Bailey said. “Our tickets have been sold out since the first of January, and our contestants are still fundraising. It’s been a fantastic effort.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff reporter, at 270-575-8652.
Want to donate?
Lourdes’ Relay For Life teams are taking donations from people who can’t attend the event.
Contact Bailey at 270-444-2873.