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The 10th Anniversary Spectacular ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ Gala Crosses the Million Dollar Mark After a Decade of Dancing Towards a Cure

By September 20, 2017February 28th, 2024Awareness, Special Events, Ways to Give

This Year’s Annual Little Rock Affair Raises $185,000 for NF Research and NF Camp

On September 7, 2017, Arkansas celebrities showed off their dance moves as they competed for the coveted mirror ball trophy at the 10th Anniversary Spectacular ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ Gala. Months of rehearsals with local dance instructors culminated in a one-time performance that raises money to fund critical neurofibromatosis (NF) research, supports local NF clinics, and sends Arkansas teens to NF Camp.

Little Rock’s Dancing Stars of 2017


Financial advisor and principal owner of The Masching Financial Group Terry Masching, dancing with instructor Sydney Kneuven of Dance Dynamics, won the Championship Mirror Ball Trophy for most votes.

The Best Performance Trophy went to Carla Emanuel, Founder, Red Garden Design’s Cancer Survivor Pin & Volunteer, for her routine with dance instructor Brandyn Smith, Director of Dance at Southern Arkansas University (SAU).


L to R: 2017 Best Performance winner Carla Emanuel and 2017 Mirror Ball Champion Terry J. Masching.


Individual trophies were given out to all of the participants: The Cotton Eye Joe award was given to Steve “Wild Man” Wilson; the Wind Beneath My Wings Award went to Carla Emanuel; DJ Williams went home with the InstaStar Award; Suzanne Yee was given the Fearless and Fancy Award; the Bend It Like Wendy Award went to Wendy Cook; and Terry Masching took home the Frank Sinatra Award.

This was also the first year local stars were partnered with local NF Heroes who visited during dance lessons, provided encouragement and cheered from the sidelines during each performance. CTF Arkansas Chapter President Lesley Osclica told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about this new element, “The stars had a great time getting to know their NF Ambassadors, and our ambassador families received a great sense of hope that, together, we were making a difference in the fight against NF.”


DJ Williams with NF Hero Myleigh

NF Heroes Miles and Myleigh
show of their own moves with a special routine


The first Dancing with Our Stars was held in 2007 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and raised $25,000. As the event grew, it moved to Chenal Country Club and several other venues, including this year’s ballroom in downtown Little Rock, where it raised $185,000, bringing the ten year total over $1 million dollars for NF research!

Thank you to all the donors, local stars, sponsors, dance instructors, volunteers, and the entire Little Rock community for ten years of support and fundraising to support our mission to one day end NF.