YORKTOWN, N.Y. Ashley Bonner, 17, took a bow Friday night on Yorktown Stage, surrounded by nearly 140 other dancers, all bowing for the same thing. That bow she said, is the culmination of hours of work, days of organization and practice and years more than she can spend with her Aunt Wendy.
Bonner, a senior at Yorktown High School created Dance 4 A Cause, a dance show that donates its proceeds to the University of Michigan in order to research adrenal cancer.
The dancers aunt had adrenal cancer, a rare disease with limited treatments and research. While her aunt was going through different treatments, Bonner decided to take action.
My aunt inspired me when she had cancer. She inspired me to put together a fundraiser and help raise money to research it more, Bonner said.
Bonner got the idea from a friend who had danced in a similar project called Dance for peace, where she had also participated.
Dance 4 A Cause held its first show four years ago with 40 dancers and a goal to raise $4,000which was obliterated when $16,000 was raised. Friday night nearly 140 dancers danced in two separate shows at Yorktown Stage.
Bonner organizes the event with help from her mother Tova, her Aunt Wendy who is now fully in remission, her sisters Sarah, Danielle and Talia, best friend Amanda Moschetti and dozens of other volunteers and dancers. She teaches all of the dancers each routine, even though some of them arent actually dancers; many were actually recruits from her younger sisters sports teams.
Bonner said, as well as her Aunt Wendy Holman, that its amazing to see so many younger children and people understand the importance of researching something that affects them distantly.
Many of them have been touched by cancer in a way, and its great that they know that they are dancing for something good, Bonner said. I feel like they understand what were all doing here together.
Holman said she feels extremely lucky to not only have a supportive family, but also that she was able to survive a cancer that doesnt always leave people so lucky.
People tell me Im a miracle, and I just dont know why, said Holman. To see everyone here, to see all the effort they put into this, its just humbling. That theyre here for something that they havent experiencedits humbling, its touching.
Friday night, all of the practices and hours of organization came together for the show.
When we take a bow, I just feel like, I did it, Bonner said. I feel like I accomplished something. Like maybe I made a difference, like I helped.
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