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Local personalities and professional dancers team up in the name of fun and philanthropy

Published by , on May 22, 2018

The gloomy weather didn’t stop more than 400 guests from filling the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts for the 2018 Dancing with the Richmond Stars. Modeled after the hit television show, this annual fundraiser pairs recognizable local personalities with professional dance partners to wow audiences with their footwork, grace and commitment to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Dsc 1394aProceeds from this year’s event will fund the children’s activity center, a special waiting area with colorful seating, interactive gel block flooring and activities, in the new Virginia Treatment Center for Children. This new facility opened last month, bringing children’s mental health services into a modern, bright and inspirational setting that matches the outstanding care.

Several of this year’s stars had special ties to VCU.

Venus Bolton danced a waltz with professional partner Tim Robertson while images of her family’s experience at CHoR rotated in the background. It was a long and emotional journey as her daughter underwent a bone marrow transplant to beat a life-threatening illness at the age of four. The donor, and 100% match, was her older brother. Venus’s husband and all four of her children joined her on stage at the end of her beautiful and passionate performance, which was named ‘most elegant’ of the evening.

Crystal Crewe has been a nurse with VCU Health for two decades and is currently nurse manager with emergency services. She performed a night club two step with professional partner David Headley, earning her the ‘most graceful’ award.

Robby Robinson, general manager with VCU Sports Properties and the voice of the VCU Rams basketball team, was dubbed ‘most spirited’ for his east coast swing with professional partner Beth Gordon. He got a little help from Rodney the Ram who made a surprise appearance to throw t-shirts to the crowd.

VCU Health System’s fearless leader, Dr. Marsha Rappley, was awarded ‘best stage presence’ for her energetic cha cha with professional partner Angel Rodriguez.

Dsc 1418aOur very own Dr. Neil Sonenklar, psychiatrist at VTCC, dedicated his tango performance with professional partner Sarah Warnick to his wife, a former professional dancer. In addition to winning the ‘fancy footwork’ award, Dr. Sonenklar was voted the Russell V. Palmore, Jr. People’s Choice Award winner by the audience. This award is named after Mr. Palmore, who died suddenly just a few weeks after he captivated the Dancing with the Richmond Stars audience with his performance in 2011.

Congratulations to Deborah Kern from Networking Technologies + Support, who won the evening’s grand prize!

The event was organized by the MCV Hospitals Auxiliary and presented by C&C Electrical Service, Inc. CHoR CEO Elias Neujahr spoke for the entire organization when he thanked these groups, the dancers who took time out of their busy schedules to learn and practice their routines, the event sponsors, and the audience members for supporting CHoR’s mission and helping the hospital advance children’s health care.

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