Skip to main content

Little Rock’s Dancing Stars Raise over $220,000 for NF Research and NF Camp

By September 16, 2016February 28th, 2024Awareness, Ways to Give

On September 8, 2016, Arkansas celebrities showed off their dance moves as they competed for the coveted mirror ball trophy at the 9th annual ‘Dancing with Our Stars’ Gala. Months of rehearsals with local dance instructors culminated in a one-time performance that raised more than $220,000 to fund critical neurofibromatosis (NF) research, support local NF initiatives, and send teens to NF Camp.

“Our 9th Annual Dancing with Our Stars was the most inspiring gala yet! After months of rehearsals, our stars performed wonderful routines that created so much energy and enthusiasm in the ballroom,” said Lesley Oslica, Children’s Tumor Foundation Arkansas Chapter President (right). “One of the greatest things about hosting a gala like this is that NF families leave the event with the greatest sense of hope after witnessing the generosity of their community.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the local ‘stars,’ instructors, sponsors, volunteers and the entire Arkansas community,” said Children’s Tumor Foundation President and Chief Scientific Officer Annette Bakker, PhD (above, left). “I was overjoyed to attend this year’s festivities and feel the warmth of a community so utterly committed to our mission to raise money to fund critical research that will one day end NF.”

Philanthropist and volunteer Susan Hickingbotham, dancing a cha-cha with dance instructor Wesley Crocker from Beyond Ballroom, won the Championship Trophy for most votes.

The Best Performance Trophy went to Win Rockefeller for his hip hop routine with dance instructor Sydney Kneuven from Dance Dynamics & Untapped Company.

Individual trophies were given out to all of the participants: The Ginger Rogers Award was given to Rachel Harding; the Mrs. Fearless Award went to Susan Hickingbotham; Win Rockefeller went home with the Sharp Dress Man Award; Chad Rodgers was given the Fred Astaire Award; the Classy Swag Award went to Hatim Smouni; and Stacey Spivey took home the Most Versatile Award.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson (below), together with former Arkansas Governor and First Lady Mike and Ginger Beebe, also joined us for the evening of dinner and dancing.

Eight NF Heroes were on hand to help inspire the dancers and all the guests. Aaron Sullivan (below) spoke about NF Camp and helped emcees Craig O’Neill, anchor at Arkansas CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, and Melissa Thoma, partner at Thoma Thoma, kick off the paddle raise campaign, which raised $35,000 to send young adults living with NF to NF Camp next summer.

To view the complete photo gallery, click here. To view the “This is NF” video that premiered at Dancing with Our Stars, click here.