Hospice fundraiser dances its way to handsome return

Central Okanagan Hospice Association raises more than $246,000 at 7th annual Swinging with Stars signature event.

  • Mar. 14, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Audience Choice Winners: Team Bollywood (from left) Louise Koch

Central Okanagan Hospice Association raises more than $246,000 at the recent Swinging with Stars.

Since the event’s inception seven years ago, $1 million has been garnered for COHA through this signature event.

All funds raised support COHA’s programs to provide care, comfort and compassion to those living with a terminal illness.

Event coordinator Jan Woolsey said the event was a huge success thanks to the amazing participants and the great variety of dances performed.

“We decided to step outside the ballroom dance genre once again this year. This definitely added to the entertainment value and variety of the dances—it is a fantastic evening that is enjoyed by all,” said Woolsey.

“We could not have done it without the amazing support of our local celebrities and the dance community. Our performers sign on with a goal to not only learn and perform a dance routine but also to raise funds with a campaign team in support of COHA. Two of our teams were in a tight race – at one point only $4.87 separated them.”

Presented by Bayshore Home Health, Jane Hoffman Group Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty and Global Okanagan, the event saw local ‘dancing stars’ jive, tango, disco, Bollywood and country dance—even a contemporary love story was performed.

This year, the Most Pledges Raised trophy was awarded to Carey Small and his campaign team of Shelley Small and Lorraine Miller. Team Small raised over $34,000. In total, the six teams raised over $116,000.

The winner of the Audience Choice Trophy was Team Bollywood. The high energy Bollywood dance was a first for the event and performed by an ensemble cast consisting of Anita Clegg, Brenda Valnicek, Laurie Koss, Louise Koch, Lorraine Penfound, Rose Sexsmith and Jan Woolsey. The ensemble was coached by Chisa Glendenning of the Canadian School of Ballet.

The  Judges Choice trophy was awarded to Val Cocar and Kurt Werner of Kelowna Dance and Performing Arts. Val and Kurt performed a high caliber technical jive that was technically challenging and wowed the audience.


“We know we have a truly unique, entertaining and popular event that the entire community enjoys,” COHA executive director Susan Steen said in a press release. “It is something people look forward to, something different from other fundraising events. We are so very grateful for the support of the whole community and the hard work of everyone involved.”

The event is based on the popular TV show, Dancing with the Stars.  Other community dancing stars who performed this year included Bill Mulgrew, Gillianne Richards, Quinn Best, Melissa Schmidt and Lonnie Van Diest.


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