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 ‘Dancing with our Stars’ brings the ballroom to Bentonville for the 3rd Year to Raise Money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation

By January 16, 2024January 25th, 2024Press Release, Special Events

On Saturday, March 9, 2024, the 3rd annual Northwest Arkansas ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ Gala will take place at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR. A spin-off of the popular annual dance competition that has taken place in Little Rock since 2006, ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ brings together local celebrities, professional dancers, and NF Heroes for a one-night ballroom competition to raise money and awareness for NF research. NF Heroes are those who have demonstrated remarkable courage and a positive spirit living with NF.

The Northwest Arkansas stars vying for a chance to take home the coveted mirror ball trophy are:

Ryan Fox, Co-Owner| Foxy Tees

Lee Hollingsworth PharmD, Owner | Hollingsworth Custom Homes, Pharmacist | Walmart

Danaë Ledbetter, Executive Director | Bentonville Prep

Melissa Parrish, Owner | Real World Travel

Misty Van Hooser, Realtor | Keller Williams Market Pro Realty

Tony Waller, Vice President of Constituent Relations and Racial Equity | Walmart

Allisha Watkins, Chief Executive Officer | Paradox

“I’m excited to bring light to a condition that not many people know about through a fun-filled night of dancing and entertaining,” said Ryan Fox.

NF is a rare genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. It comprises neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis, and may lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain, and cancer. It affects millions of people worldwide and may arise in any family regardless of gender, race, or ethnic origin. While the FDA approved the first-ever treatment, Koselugo (selumetinib), for inoperable plexiform neurofibromas in 2020, there is no cure at this time. This creative fundraiser is one way we are working to change that.

“Dancing may be a personal challenge for me, but the excitement of supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation fuels every step,” said Melissa Parrish. “Together, let’s dance for a cause that matters, spreading hope and making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.” 

 Judges this year include Wyley Elliott, Celebrate Arkansas; Kim Sharpe, Citiscapes; Katie Moore, Google; and Thai Trower, former DWOS NWA Mirror Ball Champion. Returning to emcee the evening are Larra Donadlson of Sam’s Furniture and Jon Williams of Radio Jon/Deek. They will also be joined by new addition Misty Clifton of Premier Dermatology.  The returning Dancing with Our Stars Northwest Arkansas gala co-chairs are Courtney Bakus Norton, Mimi Stewart, and Malorie Marrs.

For the third year, the NWA dance competition fundraiser features a cocktail reception, seated dinner, silent auction, and dancing. Last year, over $125,000 was raised, contributing to the more than $4 million dollars raised and invested in the Arkansas community over the last 27 years. Money raised at this year’s event will continue to support the adult clinic at the University of Arkansas.

For more information or to purchase your virtual ticket or sponsorship, please visit


About the Children’s Tumor Foundation
The Children’s Tumor Foundation is the world’s leading nonprofit dedicated to funding and driving innovative research that will result in effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with NF, a group of genetic conditions that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. One in every 2,000 people is born with some type of neurofibromatosis or schwannomatosis, which may lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain, or cancer. NF affects all populations equally, and while there is no cure yet, the Children’s Tumor Foundation mission of driving research, expanding knowledge, and advancing care for the NF community fosters our vision of one day ending NF. For more information, please visit: