About ‘Dancin’ for Miracles’ Event Director, Valarie Keller:
Winner two years running of the Humanitarian Award at the Vegas Dance Explosion, Valarie Keller is a straight talker, hard worker with determination in every pore, completely committed to her cause, fun loving and an addicted line dancer! Quite a combination.
Valarie started line dancing 15 years, she needed exercise and she loved to dance. Not long into her learning curve her teacher left to pursue other interests; Valarie was asked to take over the class and hasn’t stopped instructing since. An inveterate volunteer, Val had worked for other fund raisers such as a Boys and Girls club and an Awards event, so she decided to help out at a line dance workshop. As with her class, when the Event Director quit, Val took over. She had her own ideas though, and she renamed the event calling it ‘Dancin’ For Miracles’ and chose to fund-raise for a charity with her own personal connection. She lost her Dad to cancer and since then has lost a number of her close friends and family. As Valarie told me, “The money we raise goes only to research and that was my choice because so many people who attend the event have also lost family and friends. We could not save my dad but maybe someday we will find a cure and make cancer history”.
These are lofty goals and some people might question whether an individual could put much of a dent in the money needed to fund cancer research but Val has raised over $130,000 in 13 years. In 2014 she decided to direct the fund-raising to hospices across Ontario and $5000 was distributed. How did she do it you might ask? Well first of all she has supportive and encouraging family and friends also dedicated to this cause, and Val credits them with making it all possible and adds that “also without the line dancers themselves the event and the fund raising would not be a success”. So it takes the whole package. I should add here that Valarie lives miles away from Wasaga Beach, it is not her hometown. She and her family and friends pack a long truck full of decorations, prizes, equipment and registration packages etc and the convoy makes its way across Ontario. They then have to unpack and set-up the hall well before the dancers arrive on the Friday evening. This process is reversed on the Sunday afternoon when everyone is exhausted. Although also working full-time as a hairdresser, Valarie seems tireless; she is committed and dedicated to the dancers and the fund-raising. She also has a terrific sense of humour and all the dancers