Dance 4 A Cause Yorktown Stage Fundraiser, January, 6th, 2012

Amazing people doing amazing things to help stand up against cancer. That’s what Ashley Bonner, 17, and her sister Danielle Bonner, both did when they organized Dance 4 A Cause, an annual dance performance featuring Yorktown-area children which benefit research into the rare form of cancer that affects their aunt, Wendy Holman.
Adrenal Cancer is an aggressive form of cancer, with a median survival of 28 months. The five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent, and generally occurs in two age groups, with the first occurring before the age of 5 years and the second among young and middle aged adults.

Funding from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society to research this deadly form of cancer are limited. Identification of novel therapies may help to increase survival rates, which have remained unchanged over the last 20 years. One of the only treatments is with Mitotane, a drug made from the pesticide DDT that which has been used for treatment since the 1950s. Mitotane has a significant toxicity due to the high doses required for its adrenal toxicity effects. A large number of ACC patients present with metastatic disease, which typically precludes surgery and carries a poor prognosis. These outcomes emphasize the need for new treatment strategies for this fatal disease.

Ashley’s aunt Wendy, who grew up in Yorktown, has since gotten better and doctors are calling her a “miracle.” Even though she is relatively well,  she does  get upset by the fact that there was hardly anyone who knew about the rarity of adrenal cancer.  Every penny raised from Dance 4 A Cause show goes toward adrenal cancer research at the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Ashley has always been an extremely exceptional dancer and also, unbeknownst to me, even at this young age an amazing teacher,” Holman said of her niece. “I am just truly blessed to have a niece like Ashley. She is just so creative and dedicated. To be able to first of all come up with this idea and then plan it, organize it and continue to be dedicated to taking this on year after year is truly an inspiration to all of us. All while continuing to remain completely dedicated to school as well as her personal dancing career.”

Ashley choreographs and teaches the dances that the kids perform in the annual shows. The girls have raised more than $50,000 collectively in the previous three shows. Aside from actual performances, the girls were selling wristbands, lamps and t-shirts and raffle tickets to win a quilt on which the participating girls had either drawn a picture or written an inspirational message.

Amazing people doing amazing things to help stand up against cancer.