Dancing Her Way to Making A Difference

dancingFeaturing Danica Millar and iDance4aCURE

Danica Millar is a young NOVA dancer who personifies passion. She and many other dedicated dancers in our local community support the iDance4aCURE campaign. Founded in 2013 with the help of a group of committed dance moms, the nonprofit Brad Kaminsky Foundation (TBKF.org), and Studio Bleu Dance Center in Ashburn, the campaign raises awareness and funding for childhood cancer research. With the help of eight dance studios, iDance4aCURE raised over $75,000 in its first two months of operation. Danica has been there from the very beginning, watching from center stage as it grows.
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She began dancing at the early age of 18 months. Now 10 years old and a rising fifth grader, Danica assists with setting up and organizing iDance4aCURE activities, coordinates volunteers, and travels to many outof- area events. Recently, she gave a personally written speech to a crowd of hundreds about the iDance4aCURE campaign. Danica, along with many other local dancers who participate in dance marathons, has worked steadfastly to continue the campaign’s mission. Many of the dancers have toured medical institutions, enabling them to learn first-hand through their interactions with cancer researchers how the funds they’ve helped raise are being proactively used in the medical community. As a bright and adept preteen, Danica has come to understand the critical concept that funding research greatly affords better outcomes for those facing cancer. Through these experiences, the saying “every dollar counts” has emerged as a mantra for Danica and other dancers who offer their dedication, time, and support to iDance4aCURE events.

dancing3BT: What do you love most about dancing?

DM: I love to dance, because it’s great exercise, and it’s a great way to express my feelings inside. I love being on stage, and it makes me feel like anything is possible.

BT: How old were you when you first heard the word cancer?

DM: I think I was about four or five years old. I remember it was the first time we traveled to Los Angeles for one of our events. We toured the Children’s Hospital, the doctors explained things to us, and we actually looked at cancer cells through a microscope. I also remember making cards for kids with cancer. I have many memories of my family working for a cure and putting on different events.

BT: I understand that one of your closest friends has battled cancer more than once. Can you tell me how this has impacted you?

dancing4DM: We were on the same soccer team together and go to the same school. We played together and did stuff like singing, dancing, and jumping on her trampoline. I remember feeling really sad, because she should not have had to go through cancer the first time, let alone a second time. I wanted to do something to help. She’s the strongest and bravest person I know.

BT: What are your goals for iDance4aCURE?

DM: I want to raise a million dollars for childhood cancer research and to see a cure so no kids have to go through this. iDance4aCURE is helping raise funds so doctors and researchers can do their important work. I hope to get as many dancers as I can to understand this and have them help raise money for a cure through dancing. Being part of iDance4aCURE makes me feel amazing, because I’m doing what I love: raising money to find a cure for something I don’t love—cancer.

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BT: What are your hopes and dreams for yourself when you grow up?

DM: I want to find a cure for cancer and carry on my family’s foundation, which one day in the future hopefully won’t be needed. I also want to be a fashion designer and Broadway dancer.

Raising a new generation of childhood cancer advocates in our community shows how the passion of a few to embark upon new pathways for change can truly make a difference in the lives of so many. Danica and her dancing feet are clearly on a tour to lead the way.

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iDance4aCURE is dedicated to uniting the dance world in the fight against childhood cancer. If you would like to make a difference in the iDance4aCURE #1Million4aCURE campaign, consider donating just $1 at crowdrise.com/1million4acure or contact [email protected] to get your dancer involved. For more information visit idance4acure.org.

PHOTOS BY TRACI BROOKS