Hundreds of stroke survivors and their families joined in celebration and dance on August 15 at the inaugural Dance for Dignity fundraiser for National Stroke Association. Dance for Dignity, held at the Marriott Denver South, raised more than $6,000.00 in its first year.

Melanie Wheless, a 31-year-old stroke survivor and employee of National Stroke Association, created the event. Wheless was a competitive dancer pre-stroke and wanted to give local survivors the opportunity to connect with others that have overcome the adversity of stroke. Dance for Dignity was a night of dancing and fundraising with a silent auction and live raffle.

Wheless suffered a debilitating stroke at age 24 but has since survived and thrived. She gave an shared her story with an inspirational opening speech and empowered survivors to act as stroke ambassadors and educate their families, friends and communities about stroke.

Peter Boyles of KHOW Radio emceed the event. Boyles' father had multiple strokes and was thus quick to agree to participate in Dance for Dignity.

Silent auction items included autographed sports and entertainment memorabilia, roundtrip tickets on Frontier Airlines and local works of art. The evening's highest bid silent auction item was an authentic BB King autographed guitar, auctioned for $980.00. Terry Sherban, Castle Rock, was ecstatic to bid and win the guitar for his 20-year-old daughter, Whitney, who suffered a stroke at age 8.

Stroke is the nation's leading cause of adult disability and third leading cause of death. Funds raised from Dance for Dignity will help National Stroke Association further achieve its mission to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke. From stroke prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives to professional and public education programs, National Stroke Association is the only non-profit in the U.S. dedicated 100 percent to stroke.


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