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Local Celebrities Helped Raise Record Breaking Funds for Charleston Area Alzheimer’s Programs

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On May 15th, a community gathered to attend the 11th annual Dancing with The ARK’s Stars fundraising event, raising nearly $130,000 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.

“Our celebrity dancers did an exceptional job the night of and with their fundraising,” says Megan Severn, development director of The ARK. Each of them set a goal in the beginning and went above and beyond. We cannot thank them and our professional dancers enough for stepping out of their comfort zone to not only fundraise for The ARK, but to take countless hours to rehearse for this big event!”

Six 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.

Frankie Staropoli, State Sales Finance Manager at Republic National Distributing Company  and professional dancer, Debbie Housand took home the 2021 Mirror Ball Trophy. Frankie raised more than $28,000 for The ARK of SC and in memory of Herman Muckenfuss. Jamie Touchberry, Accountability + Mindset Coach at Thee Little Bird and E2M Fitness and professional dancer, David Roland took home the 2021 Judges’ Award for their interpretive Waltz performance.

“It was a night to remember in Summerville”, says Peg Lahmeyer, executive director of The ARK. After a trying year for many of us and our nonprofit community, we are incredibly grateful for the community support and support from the celebrity dancers this year.”

For the first year, Lowcountry Conference Center Summerville Hilton was the ballroom venue. 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 2021 “Mirror Ball Sponsor.” This is Judge Blunt’s tenth year as The ARK’s title sponsor in memory of her mother, Dr. Lidia Vallarino, who had Alzheimer’s.

The 2021 celebrity dancers included:

  • Jessa Carter, REALTOR®, The Coastal Connections Real Estate Team
  • Arthur Dehay, Sales and Operations, Murray Sand Company, Inc.
  • Rita May Ranck, Nurse Consultant, Caregivers Unlimited, LLC
  • Frankie Staropoli, State Sales Finance Manager, Republic National Distributing Company
  • Jamie Touchberry, Accountability + Mindset Coach, Thee Little Bird
  • James Weaver, Campus President, ECPI University and Company Commander, South Carolina Army National Guard

The 2021 professional dancers from Ballroom Dance Charleston coached the contestants and choreographed routines. The professional dancers included:

  • Michael Hogarth
  • Debbie Housand
  • David Roland
  • Georgia Schrubbe

The 2021 judges included:

  • Carolyn Murray, WCBD News2 co-anchor
  • Cecil Buddin, 2020 Dancing with The ARK’s Stars People’s Choice Winner
  • Ginger Arntz, 2020 Dancing with The ARK’s Stars Judges’ Award Winner

2021 Dancing with The ARK’s Stars Host:

  • Rob Fowler, WCBD StormTeam2 Chief Meteorologist
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