Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dancers 4 Cancer grows into major charity fundraiser in Pinellas

After its first year, Dancers 4 Cancer outgrew the Gulfport Casino and moved to the Coliseum in St. Petersburg in 2010. Organizers hope to raise $25,000 through Friday’s event.

Courtesy of Cheryl Altman

After its first year, Dancers 4 Cancer outgrew the Gulfport Casino and moved to the Coliseum in St. Petersburg in 2010. Organizers hope to raise $25,000 through Friday’s event.

ST. PETERSBURG

After losing both parents five weeks apart to cancer in 2008, Cheryl Altman wanted to do something to honor them while giving back to the community.

Since she and her mother always loved to dance, Altman organized Dancers 4 Cancer, which raises money for the Florida Cancer Foundation. The third edition of the festive fundraiser is scheduled Friday.

In February 2008, Altman's father, Charlie, was diagnosed with lung cancer and told that he had two to eight weeks to live. His wife, Ethel, who had ovarian cancer, died on Sept. 8 that year — on the couple's 63rd wedding anniversary. Five weeks later, on Oct. 17, Charlie died.

"Dad was supposed to go first," said Altman, "but I swear, as attached as he was to her, he made sure he waited until she was gone. They were so close, it wouldn't have surprised us for them to hold hands and go together."

Altman soon learned about the Florida Cancer Foundation and its efforts to help people affected by cancer in Pinellas County.

With the help of friends Carol Hasbrouck and K.C. Jones, Altman worked to get Dancers 4 Cancer off and running.

"I do this because it's important to Cheryl and we're good friends and because I know that the money stays in our local community and goes directly to patients for their everyday needs," said Hasbrouck.

• • •

In its first year, the event sold out the Gulfport Casino. Last year's sock hop at the Coliseum drew about 450 people. Each year, the group raised around $10,000. For this year's Mardi Gras theme, they hope to bring in 700 people and raise $25,000.

Rick Shonter started the Florida Cancer Foundation, formerly the Gulfcoast Oncology Foundation, with Dr. Jeffery Paonessa after he was treated by the doctor for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2004. Shonter says more than $3 million has been given to 650 cancer patients in the past four years. The foundation helps qualified patients in Pinellas County who are diagnosed with cancer and going through treatments, he said.

Jane Morse-Swett has been the director of the foundation since its inception in 2006. The funds raised assist with paying for nonmedical needs including rent, mortgage, utility bills, auto repair and insurance, etc. In 2010, the foundation doled out more than $500,000.

Morse-Swett sees firsthand, on a regular basis, how cancer can devastate lives and wipe people out financially.

"I've seen an awful lot of folks come in here who have been working their whole life, who are ready to enjoy their retirement, or enjoy their life regardless, and the rug is swept out from underneath them."

The foundation holds golf tournaments, galas and fashion shows and is always looking for new ways to raise money.

Some local businesses are working with the foundation to offer car repair and cleaning services or to volunteer to drive patients to their appointments.

"I can't say enough good things about Pinellas County donors, because they've made it possible for so many of their neighbors, family and friends to get through this journey," said Morse-Swett.

>> If you go

Dancers 4 Cancer

When: 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday

Where: The Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

What: The Mardi Gras event will include a silent auction, vendors, fortune teller, tarot card reader, magician and blackjack tables (for donation and entertainment purposes only).

Cost: $20 per person, $25 at the door. Music will be provided by the Venturas. A full meal is available for purchase. For more information on Friday's event, visit online at dancers4cancer.com or call (727) 424-6945.

For information on how to contribute to the cause, visit www.gulfcoastoncology.com. Donations can be mailed to Florida Cancer Foundation, 1201 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

Dancers 4 Cancer grows into major charity fundraiser in Pinellas 02/15/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 5:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.