It was no ordinary Saturday morning in the basement hall of St. Barnabas Church in Howard Beach this past weekend when more than 100 local hoofers gathered together to do what they love best—dance. Only this time it wasn’t just their feet moving to the music—it was their hearts.
Students from at least two area dance schools, Fazio and Steps Ahead, donated at least $50 each to participate in the First Annual Dancing Toward a Cure, to benefit the upcoming Howard Beach Relay for Life.
The event was organized by local dance instructor from the Steps Ahead Dance Studio, Erica Furman, to raise money for her Relay team, Dancing Toward a Cure for the June 9-10 Relay event.
Erica’s mom, Rosalie, was diagnosed with breast cancer this past fall, and she was inspired to dance up to the plate and help the cause. “This is not just about my mom,” an emotional Erica said, “it’s about everyone with cancer. They need us and we have got to be there.”
The plan for the day was to have intense instruction for the students present in four different genres of dance, including street jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and Zumba.
Dance instructors from all over the city volunteered their time to come and run the dance boot camp.
Since its inception four years ago, the Howard Beach Relay has consistently been the most successful in Queens. And the more than $8,000 raised at Saturday’s event will add nicely to the already more than $50,000 on the books for this year.
Erica was joined at the event by her dad Howie and her sister Monica. “When I heard about the event from Erica the only thing I could think of was how proud we were of her,” said an emotional Howie Furman. “But what I see here today is absolutely beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t tell you how wonderful this support is for my wife and my whole family. It means everything to us.” His wife, he explained was unable to make the event because she is going through a tough time with treatment. “It’s difficult right now, but we believe in the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Danielle Jenkins, owner of Steps Ahead told The Forum how proud she was of all the dancers from her studio that participated in the event. “This day means so much and to see all our kids out there doing this and making a difference—they are really taking steps ahead.”
Juliana Fazio said her studio was also thrilled to be participating. “This is what it’s really all about at the end of the day. Doing something you love and being able to help at the same time,” Fazio said. “It just doesn’t get any better.”
A special treat will go to the top fundraiser for the event, Julia Taravella, who raised over $500 – former American Idol contestant Pia Toscano arranged a personal phone call to Julia to congratulate her for her above and beyond efforts.
Erica Furman plans on continuing her fundraising efforts and hopes to reach her goal of $10,000 before the Relay begins on June 9 at Charles Park.
The Forum is a proud sponsor of the Howard Beach Relay for Life.
We encourage all of our readers to attend and be as generous as they possibly can.
by Patricia Adams