Swinging from Grief to Relief

Last year I danced out of my comfort zone and competed in a local fundraiser for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association called “Swinging with the Stars.” I had never danced formally before and took a crash course in the jive. I didn’t feel even close to being ready when it was time to dance in front of an audience. But a funny thing happened the night of the event: being center stage for a few minutes was kind of exhilarating.

Lori Welbourne

 

 

Last year I danced out of my comfort zone and competed in a local fundraiser for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association called “Swinging with the Stars.” I had never danced formally before and took a crash course in the jive. I didn’t feel even close to being ready when it was time to dance in front of an audience. But a funny thing happened the night of the event: being center stage for a few minutes was kind of exhilarating. I’m hoping this year my friend Terri Hergott has that same experience. Like me one year ago, Terri has never performed in front of an audience, and the thought of dancing front and center stage at an elegant ballroom gala is causing her a fair amount of anxiety. Aside from a few two step classes she took a couple of years ago, this dancing thing is brand new to her. Taking ballroom lessons leading up to the event, she and her husband Paul have been learning a difficult tango routine. “But they can’t teach rhythm,” she said laughing. Far more flamboyant, her husband is more excited than nervous. Initially set to dance with an instructor rather than his wife, he had to talk Terri into it when he suddenly needed a partner. “He asked me about six or seven times before I finally caved,” she said. “With three young children and our law practice to run, I just didn’t see how we could afford the time.”But as challenging as this is, the couple have embraced the task and gone far beyond expectations.Aside from learning to dance, they felt a deep responsibility to raise as much money as they could for hospice and enlisted a few friends to be their campaign managers. “We knew what an onerous job it was after talking to your campaign manager from last year,” Paul told me. “So we emailed a few of our really close friends and did our best not to put anyone on the spot. To our surprise, all three of them said yes.”With a solid team in place, even more friends came forward, and with more minds at work, more creative fundraising ideas were born. One pal suggested that as each fundraising goal was met, Paul celebrate by tackling a funny or fun dare. Out of that idea he has already done his version of the polar bear tango straight into the freezing cold lake and is about to have one of his hairy legs waxed.Once they reach the $7500 mark, the couple will perform a Sonny and Cher duet at their own pre-fundraising event the week before the gala. “That should help me with my performance jitters,” Terri said. “It will be a more relaxed environment and will give me an extra dress rehearsal. That’ll be a really fun night for sure.”Once they reach the $10,000 mark, Paul’s set to run to the hospice dressed in a hot dog suit to cook and sell hot dogs.The Hergotts feel strongly that the hospice – an organization committed to helping meet the needs of the terminally ill and their families – is a very suitable charity, well worth their time and energy.  For more information about the couple’s fundraising efforts, visit hergottlaw.comLori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. You can contact her at loriwelbourne.com.