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Local Celebrities Helped to Raise $102,000 for The ARK’s Support Programs



Press Release

Credit: Tiffany Hicks Photography

On March 14, a community gathered together to attend the tenth annual Dancing with The ARK’s Stars fundraising event, raising more than $102,000 for The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services during this especially critical time. Proceeds from this premier fundraiser support The ARK’s many programs and essential services for families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

“Each of our celebrity dancers went above and beyond their fundraising goal,” said Megan Severn, development director of The ARK. “We are so grateful for the support of all of the dancers for all of their hard work, time, and support of The ARK. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease in the next 30 years. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we work to raise awareness and funds for families living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.”

Eight dancers were each paired with a professional dance partner from our sponsor, Ballroom Dance Charleston. The dancing duos performed at the event for a chance to win one of two titles: The Judge’s Award or The People’s Choice Award which was voted on by the audience.

Cecil Buddin, a retiree, won the 2020 People’s Choice Mirror Ball Trophy with his professional dance partner, Georgia Grace Schrubbe (pictured), and raised more than $11,000 for The ARK’s programs. The 2020 Judges’ Choice Award went to Ginger Hamrick Arntz, a nurse practitioner at Elite Patient Care, and her professional dance partner, James Jiang, for their cha-cha performance.

“It was a wonderful evening in Summerville, says Peg Lahmeyer, executive director of The ARK. We are incredibly grateful for the community support and support from the celebrity dancers over the last ten years.” Prior to the beginning of the event, The ARK highlighted celebrity dancers from 2011 to 2019.

For the tenth year, Pinewood Preparatory School has allowed The ARK to transform its gymnasium into a ballroom. Plus, Ballroom Dance Charleston provided professional dancers, training, and rehearsal space for weeks leading up to the event. Dorchester County Probate Judge, Mary Blunt was The Dancing with the ARK’s Star’s 2020 “Mirror Ball Sponsor.” This is Judge Blunt’s ninth year as The ARK’s title sponsor in memory of her mother, Dr. Lidia Vallarino, who had Alzheimer’s.

The other celebrity dancers were Marshall Connor, assistant vice president for continuing education, Trident Technical College; Russell Cornette, director of public works, Town of Summerville; Kristi Dillard, dentist, Kari Ryan Dentistry; Hannah Moldenhauer, county public information officer, Berkeley County; John Scott, Pastoral Assistant, St. Paul’s Summerville; and Jillian Weatherford, project manager, Creekside Consulting.


Based in Summerville, The ARK is a local nonsectarian nonprofit outreach program providing hope and relief to families living with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia (ADRD). Support services include social respite care, support groups, education, caregiver consultations, resource referrals and community development. The ARK services five counties: Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, and Orangeburg. For more information, call 843-471-1360 or visit

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