Dance-a-thon will focus on ovarian cancer awareness
Johnson inspired by her friend’s passing
May 2, 2017
Park City's C.J. Johnson dances for life.
Johnson, who is known by the moniker Dance Mom on her YouTube channel, is dedicated to raise ovarian cancer awareness through joyful moves.
"Dancing is my favorite thing to do," Johnson said during a Park Record interview. "There is so much awareness about breast cancer out there, so I want to do the same thing with ovarian cancer."
Johnson will take her mission one step further with a Saturday dance-a-thon at Dance Tech Studios on Saturday, May 6. Admission is a donation of any amount at the door.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will feature Werq dancing, a dance battle and opportunity drawings.
Werq is a fitness dance class inspired by rock, pop and hip-hop music, Johnson said.
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"I am bringing in five Werq dance teachers, who are also giving their time," she said. "Now, if people don't want to follow the Werq choreography, they can learn easier dances."
Johnson is happy with the opportunity-drawing items.
"The Homestead donated a free round of 18-hole golf for two people, and Smith's donated four $50 gift cards," she said.
Other items include a year membership at Color Me Mine, gift baskets from J.W. Allen toy store and Splendor Beauty Emporium and a load of K'Nex toys form Michaels.
Starbucks and Booster Juice also donated some items and gift cards.
"The generosity of people and businesses in Park City just blows my mind," Johnson said.
Tickets for the opportunity drawings are $5 each, and Johnson recommends people bring cash or checks for convenience.
"It will be so much faster than running credit cards," she said.
Johnson also wanted to thank Nicole Fielding, owner of Dance Tech Studios, for donating the space.
"There are so many wonderful people like Nicole," Johnson said. "She is such a charitable person and gave us her whole building that day."
The upstairs studios will be filled with dancers who will be coached by the Werq-certified instructors, and, at the same time, there will be a dance battle in the basement.
"My daughter, Lilly, who is a competitive dancer, and her friends will host the battle," Johnson said. "It should be a lot of fun."
Johnson was inspired to raise awareness of ovarian cancer nearly seven years ago, after the death of her friend Tecia Stout.
"I'm still not over it, yet," Johnson said. "She was one of those magical people. She was so positive and loving and never complained up to the end.
"I was with her up to the day before she left us. When she did, she broke a lot of hearts."
Stout's passing rattled Johnson, who also lost her mom, dad, a brother and sister to cancer.
"I felt so mortal to the point I sat my kids down and told them that I was going to die someday," Johnson said. "I also told them until I go, I am going to dance whenever and wherever I want. So, if I start dancing in a grocery store, I won't stop anytime soon."
True to her word, Johnson began dancing in public whenever she felt the urge.
"When I dance in public and people ask my kids what I'm doing, they have begun saying, 'It's OK. She's going to die someday,'" Johnson said.
After a few weeks, Johnson began filming her public dance sessions.
"I got a YouTube channel called Dance Mom and developed a little following," she said. "Then I really started thinking about things and felt I could do something more positive."
Johnson's drive manifested in organizing Saturday's dance-a-thon to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and to raise money for ovarian cancer research.
"I contacted the largest ovarian cancer research organization in the world, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance," she said. "They funnel a lot of money to do research, but also support women — and families of women — who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and helps them get through the hellacious ordeal of treatment."
The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance sent Johnson some symptom cards that are the same size as her Dance Mom business cards.
"When I'm dancing and people come and ask me what I'm doing, it's the perfect moment for me to say, 'My very best friend died of ovarian cancer and I don't want that to happen to you,' and give them some cards," she said. "I tell them to memorize the symptoms and got see their doctors, because you can't detect the disease through an ordinary exam.
"I have met the most amazing women who have told me how ovarian cancer has impacted their lives. It's been an incredible journey. I meet incredible people and I can share this information. I would love to see them at the dance-a-thon."
A dance-a-thon that will raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, at Dance Tech Studios, 786 Division St. For information, contact C.J. Johnson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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