The first annual event of Pointe to the Cure was held at the TOBIAS Theatre at the Indianapolis Museum of Art last Friday.
The Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Team Joey — a Heroes Foundation Program, came together to bring awareness and raise funds for local pediatric cancer research, while honoring the memory of Joey Keller, whose selflessness continues to inspire others today.
Keller lost his battle to medulloblastoma on Nov. 18, 2012, after a CT scan revealed a golf ball-sized tumor in the back of his brain in the fall of 2010.
The Heroes Foundation Program, Team Joey, was created to fulfill Keller’s wish of providing donated LEGO sets to other children who are suffering with cancer and to raise support and funding of local pediatric cancer research.
The night started with opening remarks by Dr. Adam Perler, event chairman, Dr. Doug Blacklidge from American Health Network, and Alyona Yakovleva-Randall, the founding artistic director at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory.
An original ballet production called Pulse: Dancing to the Beat of our own Drummer, was performed by the conservatory and during intermission cancer heroes were “pointed” out to hear their stories.
There were five heroes that have had a calling to help others in need. Each hero was nominated, and each has a unique story.
Vince Todd, Jr. was nominated by his wife after being a 14-year cancer survivor. He has been to Washington, D.C., to represent Livestrong, and is the chairman and founder of the Heroes Foundation.
Jinna Brenchner was nominated by the Keller family after making frequent visits to see Joey in the hospital. In two weeks, she will be going to California to donate stem cells because she is the perfect match for a donation.
Madeline Robertson was diagnosed with leukemia a few days after her high school graduation and underwent treatment for a year and a half, all while continuing to go to college. She is now pursing a master’s degree.
The next award was a shared award between 3-year-old Nolan Wasson and Stayce Woodburn. They are heroes in helping Leah Wasson, Nolan’s sister. Nolan Wasson is a 100 percent match for a bone marrow transplant for his second-grade sister who is battling leukemia. Woodburn is Nolan’s mother’s childhood friend and will be on the surgery team when Nolan goes in for the bone marrow transplant. They both were nominated by Bethesda Preschool, who assembled the LEGO figures that everyone in the audience received after the show.
The last hero was Colts Coach Chuck Pagano who was diagnosed with acute leukemia. Pagano agreed to shave Dr. Adam Perler’s head for the evening to honor those who have battled cancer. The IBC’s dance choreographer, dancer, and Dr. Doug Blacklidge also shaved their heads.
There was an auction with prizes such as a Colts helmet, dually signed by Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning, Colts tickets, Pacers tickets, a dinner with Colts player Gary Brackett, and a painting created by Leah Wasson.
All of the money from the evening went toward pediatric cancer research.
Childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death, next to accidents, yet less than 4 percent of governmental funds for cancer research actually go toward finding a cure for this terrible disease.
For more information about this event, visit the website at www.pointetothecure.org.