Friday, March 28, 2014
The ARK estimates its fourth annual Dancing With The ARK's Stars fundraiser netted $70,000 to help families living with Alzheimer's throughout the Lowcountry. Nearly 500 people packed the Pinewood Preparatory School gym for the event.
The seven local celebrities who competed to win, both by dancing with a professional ballroom dance partner, and by raising the most money, raised the bar on both counts. Tauna Longest, public relations director for AllCare Living Services, raised more than $10,000 for The ARK, a new record, and earned her and partner John Michael Tabakian the People's Choice award for their disco-style rhumba. Summerville native Sean Harrington and professional partner Lorna Parkinson won the Judges' Choice award with their salsa. Together, the celebrity dancers raised more than $46,000.
ARK Executive Director Peg Lahmeyer said, “Every year we think this event can't get any better, then it does.” She lauded the dancers' commitment to fundraising for the event, saying, “Dancing with The ARK's Stars is about the entire community and getting help to families that need it.” The event's revenues have increased almost 250 percent in four years.
Mirror Ball sponsors Mary and Sam Blunt said, “This is our favorite event of the year. Making Alzheimer's center and stage front turns it from a taboo topic to a disease that people can speak about and especially ask for help with!” Mary Blunt is the Dorchester County Probate Judge, who deals with family issues related to Alzheimer's disease regularly. Her mother also has Alzheimer's.
The event funds The ARK, Alzheimer's Family Support Services. The ARK, a grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides comprehensive support services for families dealing with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. Seventy-five percent of The ARK's participants receive scholarships. The ARK also provides education on Alzheimer's and caregiving issues, and caregiver support groups.
For information, contact The ARK at 843-832-2357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.