DANCERS wowed a packed-out audience at the Wyvern Theatre for a special show for professional dancer Ann-Marie Burgess, who has been given just six months to live.
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 then given the all-clear.
But last year, the mum-of-two from 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 to six months to live.
The devastating news rocked a family which had already suffered crippling tragedy after Ann-Marie’s husband Gary and stepson Elliott, 13, lost their first wife and mother to cancer.
After hearing the news, Ann-Marie’s friends Gaynor Moreton and Vicki Hornby started an appeal to help the family make the most of the time they have left, and one of the biggest fundraisers was the dance show – To Live Is To Dance.
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.
“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 from across the town came together for the first-of-its kind, sell out event, with dancers from 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 all setting aside their rivalries to share the stage for Ann-Marie.
Gaynor said: “It was just amazing, all the dance schools were just fantastic, they gave all their time, all their hard work, costumes, everything without question.
“There was such a range of different dance types, schools, and ages, all the children were amazing, and when the Baby Ballet came on the audience went wild, they were the cutest things.
“Ann-Marie was just so overwhelmed and she loved every minute of it.”
All profits from the night will go towards the appeal, which has so far reached the £5,000 mark.
To find out more about the fundraising or to get involved and help the family make lasting memories, visit www.facebook.com/memoriesforBurgessfamily.