Celebration of life
The American Cancer Society will hold its 17th annual Dinner Dance, “Sentimental Journey … On the Way to a Cure,” Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpointe.
The dinner dance was organized by a group of community-minded individuals who wanted to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The first year, they raised $1,200. This year’s goal is $51,000.
One of the committee members, Craig Gnagey Sr., lost his cancer battle before the second dinner dance, which was held in his memory. The event is still held in Gnagey’s memory, as well as those who have lost their battle with cancer.
Today, the event not only is for those who have lost loved ones, but also for those who have fought the battle and won. It’s a celebration of life.
Gnagey’s spirit continues to live in the many volunteers who jump on board to plan the event.
Cheryl Morrell, nurse and transition coordinator at Washington Hospital, is among those volunteers. As an empty nester, she now has some time to give back to the community. She joined the American Cancer Society Volunteer Leadership Council and heard the dinner dance story. She was so touched by the courage and strength the Gnagey family showed through a difficult time, she joined the committee. As a former hospice nurse, Morrell also has felt the pain of patients’ loved ones.
This year, she is serving as co-chairwoman of the event. Lauren Gnagey, the oldest daughter of Craig Gnagey Sr., still chairs the event, and her mother, Karen Gnagey, and sister, Sara Gnagey, also play key roles in planning.
It was Morrell who initiated the dance competition, which will be held for the third year. Pastor Gary and Kathy Gibson, Richard Mowl and his daughter, Kristi Pysh, Richard and Laurie Crossland and Angela and Glenn Eustis will compete for the title.
Andrew Stockey, WTAE news anchor, will emcee the event, and there will be several auction items donated by local businesses. Dinner will begin at 7:15 p.m., followed by the dance contest at 8 and dancing to the music of Hamler Productions from 9 to midnight.
Tickets can be reserved by calling the American Cancer Society at 724-222-6911. For more information, visit www.acsdinnerdance.com.
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