Dancing for a Dream fills hope chest of Valley Kids with cancer

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Tanya Bonillas and partner Mike Colon competed for 1st place during the Dancing for a Dream fundraiser at the Cheval Farm
Tanya Bonillas and partner Mike Colon competed for 1st place during the Dancing for a Dream fundraiser at the Cheval Farm

IMPERIAL – Dancing to bachata, merengue, salsa and music from the 80’s, six local stars competed for a crown during the 2nd annual Dancing for a Dream (Bailando Por Un Sueño) Friday evening at Cheval Farm in Imperial.

Dancing for a Dream dance competition benefits the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert as well as six local families dealing with the catastrophic illness of cancer. The competition highlights the negative and positive life changing impact this disease can have on young dreamers and to the dreams of their parents. The children who benefited from the event were Azul Vargas, Ayden Mascareñas, Mike Colon, Kareime Rangel, Raymond Velarde, and Xavier Carillo.

Saturday night was especially emotional due to the recent passing of Azul Vargas, who was represented by Fidel Gonzalez and Angie Peña. Azul passed away on Tuesday, October 20. The announcement was made by Peña, bringing tears to everyone’s eyes.

“Tonight we will dedicate Dancing for a Dream to Azul and proceeds going to her family will be used for Azul’s funeral costs,” said Peña.

The evening began with a spectacular performance from Natalia Lozano, local singer and the “Te Here Polynesian Dance Group”.

Local film producer and ABC-5 News multimedia journalist Roy Dorantes delivered a spectacular performance as Master of Ceremonies entertaining guests, sharing experiences with the children and families, and keeping the evening upbeat.

“When I first met these children, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. I saw children laughing in the face of challenge, I saw them hopeful, and smiling with a can-do attitude,” said Dorantes.

Over 250 people attended the evening dressed in gala attire, looking sharp, and with their wallets wide open, ready to donate to the cause.

“It’s wonderful to see the community come together and support such a great cause. We at the CRCD are truly appreciative of the support we have and are receiving,” said Diana Peacher, CRDC director.

During the program, an email was read from Kareime Rangel, one of the sick children.

“One day I woke up with a high fever that wouldn’t go away. After weeks of going to my pediatrician and getting no answers I went home to find my family worried and anxious. They had had been told to drive me up to San Diego to see a specialist and determine what was keeping me sick.

A couple of days later, after several tests and exams, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Through it all my family has helped me keep strong. Things have been difficult with financial, emotional and medical programs that I have never expected. Even though having cancer has been very rough, my family and I have grown strong and closer than ever before.

Being in a hospital two hours away from home has been a challenge.  My mom and I are usually on our own, my siblings are in school and my dad works in Rancho Mirage. My mom has had to leave her job to be with me and says I am her full time job. I really appreciate the help and support I have received.”

The competition required four judges, but three seats were filled by Sheriff Raymond Loera, Police Chief Eddie Madueño, and Hildy Carillo, CEO, Calexico Chamber of Commerce. The last seat was auctioned to those attending.

Encouraging the crowd, Dorantes threatened to dance if they wouldn’t reach the reserve for the fourth chair, pumping up the crowd to bid.

“Unlucky for you, I will have to dance if we don’t hit the $700 mark. Let me tell you, I can’t dance to save my life!” teased Dorantes.

The bid began at $100, and with applauds and encouragement from the crowd, worked its way up to $800. Winner Maruvia Ortiz Moreno said was money was well spent, benefiting a good cause.

Dorantes danced in the first annual Dancing for a Dream last year.

As the competition began, the crowd cheered their favorite couples with applause, whistles, and cheers. The judges displayed their scores on placards after each performance.

DSC_0141The competition ended in a tie between Karla Flores and partner Eli who is a bachata dancer in Mexicali for Alma Latina, and last year’s champion, Tanya Bonillas and partner Mike Colon. With only one crown and two finalists, judges decided guests would determine the winner by applause.

With a standing ovation Karla Flores and Eli won the crown giving little Ayden Mascareñas the win for the night.

The evening ended with raffles and dancing on the dance floor.

The Cancer Resource Center of the Desert is the only non-profit community-based organization that offers services to all types of cancer patients and their families.

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