Well known locals, Cath Toole and Jake Grace, may have danced their way to the winners podium on Saturday taking out the 2016 Forbes Dancing with the Stars Champions title, but there is no doubt the Forbes Community was the real winner. For the second year running this event exceeded all expectations of the organisers raising in excess of $55,000, which is more than $20,000 up from last year.
Tickets sold out after only eight hours and more than 400 spectators could not wait to see the twenty mystery dancers competing for the 2016 title. The competition was tough, but friendly. Many performers surprised themselves with what they had achieved on the dance floor in a relatively short period of time with no previous experience. Many of the dancers dedicated their performances to family and friends who had been affected by cancer and this special connection shone through every routine. All of the dancers were hesitant at first, but when they thought about why they were doing it, stepped outside their comfort zones to make the night a success.
After the ten couples had performed they had ten minutes to collect as much money as possible from the audience. Nicole Bernardi and Charles Dwyer won the People’s Choice award collecting $7,000. The event in Forbes was the brainchild of Terese Gunn and Cassandra Tyack who adapted the event from the popular TV series and moulded it into their own with the dream of providing much-needed assistance to Forbes CanAssit. The charity provides financial assistance to local cancer patients and their families for costs associated with the disease including travel, accommodation, medicines, treatment as well as household expenses due to loss of regular income. CanAssist does not receive government assistance and relies heavily on fundraising activities and events. CanAssist provided assistance totalling $85,000 in the last financial year.
Despite trying times of late for this small community, donated auction items raised more than $18,000 on the night, which is testament to the generosity and compassion of this wonderful town in which we live.
By Anita Morrison