Christmas event organized to help cancer survivors

Several area dancers and singers are banding together Sunday for one purpose — to raise funds in the fight against cancer.

The fundraising event, “Performing for a Cure,” will benefit Relay For Life and will include Christmas performances at 1:30 p.m. and a visit from Santa Claus after the musical acts. The event will take place at Ingle Auditorium on the Missouri School for the Deaf campus. Admission is free, but Janet Graham hopes attendees will donate what they can to Relay For Life.

Graham, owner of Janet’s Dance Studio and event organizer, understands the effects of cancer firsthand. Three of her female relatives have been treated for breast cancer, and Graham is a cancer survivor herself. In 1984, she was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease but was declared cancer-free after success with radiation treatment.

“This is just one little way I can just reach out and maybe help the next person,” she said.

Graham said she held a similar event in Mexico and was able to raise $2,000.

Mindy Noel, chair of Relay For Life for Callaway County, said Sunday’s event in Fulton will be “good entertainment.”

“It’ll be a neat experience to view several different types of performing arts in one venue with an ability to raise some funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life program,” Noel said.

Performances will include ballet, tap and jazz dances by children ages 3-13, songs from the Critter Choir, dances to African music by Westminster College’s African Club and a ballet/hip-hop combination dance by Westminster students.

Catherine Pesce, faculty advisor to Westminster’s International Club, said she decided to help organize some dances for the performance, because she thinks “it’s a huge worthy cause.”

Graham said the Christmas season is a time of giving and hopes Sunday’s event will raise at least $500.

“I think everybody knows somebody who has been affected by cancer,” Graham said. “It’s time everybody step up to the plate and help out a little bit.”

Noel said one benefit to donating to a local Relay For Life event is that a portion of the funds help cancer survivors in Callaway County.

“We’re not just giving money to the American Cancer Society,” she said. “We’re giving money back to the community and helping them through these tough times of surviving cancer.”

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