Who will you be representing on the dance floor?

Picture this… The disco ball has dropped, and it’s time to dance all day in your favourite pair of dazzling shoes. You hear Michael Jackson and you know it’s your chance to show off your best moves. First you’re doing “The Moonwalk,” then “The Spin” and within minutes you’re having a great time. For some, this feels like déjà vu, but for others it’s a brand new experience!

On May 3, 2015, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation hosted its fourth annual Dance to Conquer Cancer fundraiser. This year’s event included a special Michael Jackson tribute where participants strutted their best dance moves from his hit songs along with other classic songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Overall the event was a success as participants collectively raised over $350,000 to support all areas of cancer research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. In the crowd of hundreds, a team of five girls (Team Coonid) all under the age of nine danced away showing off their stellar moves. What stood out was the story behind why it was important for them to participate and dance.

“The Princess Margaret is very dear to our hearts because of the great care they provided for our family,” said Jennifer Appleby, team captain of Team Coonid’s.

Team Coonid’s story began in 2004, when Jennifer’s husband Bryce was diagnosed with colon cancer. Unfortunately in 2010, he lost his battle and sadly left his wife and three young daughters; Aubrey, Ella and Marlow.

In the same year, Loren Altman also lost his wife Samantha to brain cancer. Throughout her cancer journey, Samantha fought hard but tragically passed away leaving two daughters Jordan and Erin to grow up without their mother.

“It’s really difficult for a child to lose a parent especially at a young age,” said Jennifer. “After meeting Loren, we thought it would be nice for the kids to meet since we were all going through the same thing.”

Through great tragedy, it is often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but today Jennifer and Loren have found their light together with their larger blended family.

This was the family’s first year participating in the Dance to Conquer Cancer fundraising event. After finding out about the event from a friend, Jennifer thought it would be a great way for the girls to honour their father and mother and get involved to support cancer research. Of course combining their passion for dance made it that much more fun!

 “Both Bryce and Samantha were treated at The Princess Margaret where they received the best care. They are our ‘whys’ and the reason it’s so important for us to dance and give back,” said Jennifer. “We had an amazing time combining our passion for dancing and raising money for a great cause!”

This year alone, the girls raised over $1,100.00 and can’t wait to lace up their dazzling dance shoes next year!