FRIENDS of professional dancer Ann-Marie Burgess, who has been given just six months to live, are raising money to ensure her family can have some final happy memories.
Mum Ann-Marie, 41, who had a successful dancing career after training at Judith Hockaday’s School of Dance, was diagnosed with eye cancer several years ago, but was given the all-clear.
However last year, Ann-Marie, of Redhouse, started feeling pain in her back and, following an MRI scan, doctors diagnosed her with an inoperable tumour and she was given between two and six months to live.
The news has devastated the family, particularly Ann-Marie’s husband Gary, who also lost his first wife and mother to the disease. As well as being step-mum to Gary’s 13-year-old son Elliott, Ann-Marie is also mum to four-year old son Finley.
Now, Ann-Marie’s friends Gaynor Moreton and Victoria Hornby are putting on a dance show at the Wyvern Theatre to help raise around £12,000 so the Burgess family can create some happy and lasting memories together.
Gaynor, who was Ann-Marie’s job-share partner at Nationwide, said: “Ann-Marie has always been so strong. She’s an amazing, amazing character, and she has worked so hard.
“She is a great friend and we just want to help her and her family create some happy memories despite this incredibly difficult time. The money we raise will enable them to enjoy some really special holidays and events without having to worry about how to finance these. We just want to take that stress away from her and give her the freedom to concentrate on being with her family and making the remaining time count.”
Dance schools taking part in the show from 7pm on July 9 include the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts, the Judith Hockaday School of Dance and Drama, Tanwood School of Performing Arts, The Kirsty Farrow Dance Academy, Cadley Dance School, Danzone, Baby Ballet, JS Dance Academy, The Farrell School of Irish Dancing and Tap Attack.
Gaynor said: “It’s something that she’s so excited about.
“It’s a complete first for Swindon. Normally the dance schools compete and now they are going to be in the same show. It’s going to be amazing though because they will all be doing their best to out-dance each other.
“Meanwhile it’s the first time the Baby Ballet have been able to go on at the Wyvern so everyone is getting so excited about that.”
All proceeds from the night will go towards Ann-Marie’s family.
There are only 200 tickets left for the show, costing £12 for adults and £9 for concessions.
To find out more about the fundraising or to get involved visit www.facebook.com/memoriesforBurgessfamily To book tickets to the To Live Is To Dance show, call 01793 524481 or visit swindontheatres.co.uk