LACONIA — "Dancing With the Stars" is popular on TV, but here in the Lakes Region, it's also a way for local dancers to help charities – and did they ever help. Lakes Region Dancing With the Stars raised more than $33,000 for many charities during their show in November, along with showcasing local talent.
Receiving checks on Wednesday were The Cure Starts Now NH, given $16,697; The Greater Career Partnership, given $8,348; and six other groups splitting $1,391.
First-prize winner Jesse Thompson was thrilled to receive the check on behalf of The Cure Starts Now, as the group is searching for a cure for DIPG, a rare form of brain cancer that killed his son, John Bradley Thompson, at the age of 7, just a year and a half ago.
Laura L. Brusseau, co-founder of the local nonprofit Faith, Hope and Love Foundation and Ashley May Halsey, a dance and Zumba instructor in the Lakes Region, teamed up in 2010 to create the first local Dancing with the Community Stars charity event. That effort raised more than $4,500 for the Inter-Lakes High School Habitat for Humanity Club. They have since organized six more events, raising more than $75,000 for more than 40 Lakes Region nonprofits, said Brusseau. Each, year, the event features six to eight local stars and dance professionals who compete for the mirror ball trophy. The winners choose their favorite charity for half the money raised. Second runners-up choose the next charity, which gets a quarter of the money, and the remaining charities split the final quarter.
Starring this year were:
1. Liane Clairmont of LRGH, dancing for LRGH's Family Birthplace with proceeds going to educate others on Baby Safe Sleeping. She danced with Martha Nicols of the Sandwich Players.
2. Andrea Condodemetraky of CG Engineering, dancing for the Santa Fund of the Greater Lakes Region. Her partner was Katie LaRoche of Dancing Feet Studios in Bristol.
3. Robert Cormier, the Tilton Police Chief, danced for the Special Olympics of NH with partner is Ashley Walley, owner of The Studio at Meredith Bay.
4. Rebekah Gonzalez, a physical education teacher at Pleasant Street School and co-founder of Camp Van Gogh, danced for the Pleasant Street School Walking Path Fund. Her partner was Plymouth State Dance Team Member Ashley Marsh.
5. Lauren Lyons of Lyons Den and Tavern danced for Make A Wish New Hampshire with Shevly Parker, a dancer from Nashua.
6. Nancy Stetson, a world languages yeacher at Inter-Lakes High School, danced for Autism Speaks with Ashley Halsey, co-founder of Lakes Region Dancing With the Stars and dance instructor at Lakes Region Dance.
7. Jesse Thompson of Northern Design danced for The Cure Starts Now NH. He danced with his friend Natalie Lyons of Gilford.
8. Chris Kelly of REMAX Bayside danced for the Greater Meredith Career Partnership Program, with Sue Nicholas, a tumbling coach at Lakes Region Dance, who won the competition.
The show was emceed by Fred and Amy of Mix 94.1 FM. There was a canned food drive to support Meredith Food Pantry as part of the Cash N Cans Program. The judges this year were Sarah Gray, owner of Body Covers; Lea King, owner of Lakes Region Dance; Lenore Sousa, Plymouth State University dance professor; and James Abreau, Lakes Region Dancing With the Stars Season 4 champion.
THREE PHOTOS IN SERVER
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 235