Dancing with the Mountain Stars raises funds for local infusion center | SummitDaily.com

Dancing with the Mountain Stars raises funds for local infusion center

Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson and Natalia Lind compete in the seventh annual Dancing with the Mountain Stars at the Keystone Conference Center in 2014. Davidson will be a judge for this year's event on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, which will raise funds for an infusion center and multispecialty clinic next to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco.
Joe Kusumoto / Special to the Daily |


What: Eighth annual Dancing with the Mountain Stars fundraiser for St. Anthony Summit Medical Center

When: Saturday, Sept. 26, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. The silent auction will close at 7 p.m. before the performance starts.

Where: Keystone Conference Center, 100 Dercum Square, Keystone, CO 80435

How much: $225. To buy tickets, call Melissa with the Centura Health Foundation at (970) 668-9755.

They haven’t met their dance partners yet or spun through their routines in their costumes.

But the Summit County dancers have been practicing samba, foxtrot, cha cha, swing and other moves with coaches multiple times a week for nearly four months in hopes of dazzling friends and family and wowing the judges.

Or not.

“I am not shooting to win. I’m just hoping not to fall down,” said Mark Nunn, who was Summit County Chamber of Commerce president from 2010 to 2014.

He is one of nine local leaders who will compete in the eighth annual Dancing with the Mountain Stars fundraiser for St. Anthony Summit Medical Center on Saturday, Sept. 26.

The premise for the event comes from the popular television show “Dancing with the Stars,” in which celebrities are matched with professional dancers and pitted against one another in competition for best performance.

At Dancing with the Mountain Stars, the celebrities are figures from the local community, and the pros come from out of state, bringing years of experience — sometimes including performances on the TV show — to help.

This year’s proceeds will go toward adding a multi-million dollar infusion center and multispecialty clinic in existing space on the third floor of the medical office building next door to the Frisco hospital.


Over the past seven years, Dancing with the Mountain Stars has raised nearly $800,000, which has gone toward numerous programs, including SAFE KIDS, Think First, the Traumatic Brain Injury program and the Forensic Nurse Examiner program. In 2012, funds were used to buy a new Flight For Life helicopter, and, in 2014, the money went toward scholarships and free community health talks.

Representatives from Centura Health, the hospital’s parent nonprofit organization, said they hope this year’s gala will raise $200,000 for the multispecialty clinic and infusion center.

Nunn said, “It’s a facility that the hospital sorely needs here.”

Locals with cancer must now go to the Vail Valley or the Front Range for chemotherapy. The infusion center will allow them to stay in Summit and look out at the mountains they call home during treatments.

“It’ll be a tremendous gift to them and their families,” said Don Parons, a retired physician who sits on the hospital’s community advisory board.

The center, which will occupy about a quarter of the 5,200-square-foot addition, will provide all kinds of intravenous medications and treatments to patients seated in recliners.

The rest of the space will feature a consultation room for patients and their families to meet with their entire care team and a multispecialty clinic, which will allow rotating, out-of-town physicians to meet with patients a few times a month.

Depending on the permitting and construction process, hospital finance manager Michele Abbott said the new facilities could open in 2016. For now, renderings will be available Saturday evening for folks to visualize the space.


All the local competitors have little to no dancing experience, and some said they were surprised to learn how much hard work and flair goes into competitive dancing.

Team Summit executive director Jerry Karl said, “Beginning of June, we started with our deer-in-the-headlights looks like, ‘What did I just sign up for?’”

Deb Zimmerman, a physician’s assistant with Centura Centers for Occupational Medicine, said, “The first month was a little nerve-wracking because it felt completely overwhelming and foreign.”

They have since worked hard with coaches Jessica Belflower, Sara Skinner, Jennifer Voxakis and Debbie Whitmore.

About six weeks ago, Zimmerman said, she started to relax into her routine, and the group of local dancers bonded recently after seeing each other perform.

Karl, who has a background in professional skiing, coaching and other athletic endeavors, said, “I would’ve thought I had more body awareness than I actually do.”

He has enjoyed practicing in the mornings with his coach, but he has rarely brought the dance home, he said. “My wife laughs too much, so I put her on the kibosh.”

The local dancers this year are Gini Bradley, Sarah Grunes, Robbins Manley, Johnny Pfeiffer, Craig Simson and Dr. Jodie Taylor.

They will be scored by the evening’s three judges — County Commissioner Thomas Davidson, who has danced in the event, and two professional dancers, Kelly Monahon and Robert Nardozza — as well as the entire audience for the Judges’ Award and People’s Choice Award. The two winners will be invited to reprise their performance at next year’s event.

The event will be from 5:30 p.m. to midnight at the Keystone Conference Center, and 9News mountain reporter Matt Renoux and his wife, Kelly, who is director of employee experience for Copper Mountain Resort, will emcee.

In addition to the dancing, the $225 tickets will include a cocktail reception, small silent auction, informational video presentation about the infusion center, elegant three-course dinner and late-night dance party with a live DJ.

A few tickets are still available, and anyone interested should call Melissa with the Centura Health Foundation at (970) 668-9755.

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