Kids with life-threatening illnesses dance to raise money for nonprofit

No kid should feel like they are being left out of an opportunity. No matter the conditions. 

A dance studio in Chandler called Dance Connection 2 will be sharing the stage with about 20 children with life-threatening illnesses to raise funds for the non-profit organization HopeKids

"What we do is we give our children things to look forward to and get excited about, so every day they can go log onto their calender and there's a bunch of free and fun events," said Angie Abfalter the Program Manager for HopeKids Arizona. 

HopeKids provides an on-going calender of free events for kids with life-threatening illnesses to help keep their minds off of the stress of treatment and doctor appointments. 

"Our children have a variety of medical conditions. About 40 percent of our kids have cancer, some of them have muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and rare genetic needs," said Abfalter. 

Every two years, the organization has the opportunity to collaborate with the dance studio to give these kids a chance to shine. 

This is the fourth season the studio will host this show. 
 
"A lot of our children are in wheelchairs or they have things going on with their body that wouldn't normally allow them to do this," said Abfalter. 

It's a moment where a positive connection will be made through the art of dance. 

Jenna Alvarez, a HopeKids parent, was very touched by the fact her daughter Taylor, who was born with 2q37 deletion syndrome, would have the chance to have the spotlight. 

According to U.S. National Library of Medicine,  2q37 deletion syndrome is a condition that may affect many parts of the body including; mild to severe intellectual disability and developmental delay, behavioral problems, characteristic facial features and more. 

"Taylor absolutely loves it. She loves the spotlight, the stage and so when I saw ( the dance event) I said oh, 'I have to hurry and sign up for that,'" said Alvarez.

Another parent, Amy Dunn, decided to have her son Michael be a part of the show to make him feel like he has no limits. 

Dunn's son has a gene mutation to his PLA2G6 gene that causes intellectual disability and movement problems, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"It gives him the normalcy, it make him feel like he's still normal and he's able to do the things that other kids can do," said Dunn. 

The Dance Connection 2 students and HopeKids children will preform in a special Christmas dance show at Queen Creek Performing Arts Center Dec. 15 and 16.  A portion of the ticket proceeds will go towards HopeKids Foundation. 

For more information about the performances, click here

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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