Couple steps up to raise awareness, funds for Alzheimer’s
For more information on the couples competing in the event, check out the kicks section in Thursday's Gazette.
If you go
What: Fifth annual “Dancing with the Stars,” a fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Support Center of Rock County.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 30.
Where: Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St., Janes-ville.
Information: Call (608) 758-0297.
Silent auction: Starts at 6 p.m. and closes at the end of intermission (about 8:30 p.m.).
Marcus and Shelly Scharine hadn’t danced together since their wedding reception 20 years earlier.
But that didn’t stop the rural Whitewater couple from stepping out of their comfort zones and to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Support Center of Rock County.
The local nonprofit organization is the local resource for information and education about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It advocates on behalf of those living with dementia and offers free, confidential memory screening.
The Scharines will join four other couples competing in the fifth annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser Saturday, April 30, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St.
They said they want to give back to a program that helped them after Shelly’s father, Dennis Haskins, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 53. He died in July 2009 at age 61.
“We’re doing all we can to raise as much money as we can,’’ Shelly said.
“We have friends trying to sell tickets to friends,” Marcus said.
Members of their church—Rock Prairie United Presbyterian—have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, too, so they’ve been selling tickets.
“So, we could have a lot of people come and cheer or jeer us on,’’ Marcus said.
Before taking the stage, the Scharines will have spent hours of practice at home plus six weeks of 45-minute semi-weekly rehearsals with John Abrams, owner of Tempo Dance studio in Madison. Abrams and an assistant decided to have the Scharines perform the swing to Madonna’s “Hanky Panky.’’
One of their teen daughters has even gone to rehearsals to videotape them.
“It’s so we can see where we need to improve. A lot of times we get the initial steps down then don’t remember what the next step is. But it’s nothing we can’t work through,” Shelly said.
Both have developed blisters on their feet.
“It’s like training for a marathon,’’ Marcus said.
Their biggest worry is stage fright, they said.
“It’s not so much learning the dance, it’s having to do this in front of people and not wanting to mess up in front of friends and family,’’ Shelly said.
“We tell ourselves it’s for a good cause, that we’re doing it for my dad, and we’ll get through it,’’ Shelly said.
“It’s a really good opportunity to help out a great organization that is good at what it does,’’ Marcus said.
Brittnay Wittnebel and Nathan Landau
Music: "Jumptown" by Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums
Instructor: Ken Stroud, Beloit.
Female dancer: Brittnay Wittnebel
Occupation: Special events manager for the Wisconsin Aviation Academy
Dancing because: It thrills her to perform on behalf of a worthy cause.
On the side: She is founder of a bullying prevention campaign called The Youth Unite. She has worked with several community groups, including the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra and Beloit International Film Festival.
Interesting tidbit: She was Miss Beloit in 2008 and is Miss Madison 2011. In June, she will compete in the Miss Wisconsin pageant.
Male dancer: Nathan Landau
Occupation: Beloit College student majoring in senior creative writing.
Dancing because: He wants to be part of a wonderful community fundraiser.
On the side: He is a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Interesting tidbit: He has been dancing since he was 10 and fell in love with ballroom dance his freshman year of college. Since then, he has appeared in several productions and hopes to continue dancing after graduation.
Jessie Cutsinger and Matt Richardson
Music: "Beggin'" by MadCon
Instructor: Lyndsay Larson, Janesville.
Female dancer: Jessie Cutsinger
Occupation: Fitness director at the YMCA of Northern Rock County
Dancing because: Alzheimer's disease has affected friends and YMCA members, either personally or in their families.
On the side: She loves helping Y members meet their fitness goals.
Interesting tidbit: She grew up on a Warrens hobby farm. She loves sports, hiking, scuba diving, traveling, social dancing and spending time with family, especially her 3-year-old son.
Male dancer: Matt Richardson
Dancing because: He has wanted to try ballroom dancing since seeing Al Pacino's tango scene in "Scent of a Woman."
On the side: He's a big Green Bay Packers and Indiana basketball fan, coaches Y basketball and is a volunteer assistant for the Parker boys varsity basketball team. An avid cyclist and runner, he recently competed in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.
Interesting tidbit: He was founding director of the Beloit Area Community Health Center's dental clinic.
Tabatha Jones-Beckford and Zac Fowler
Music: "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett
Instructors: Jim and Sandy Bishop, Janesville.
Female dancer: Tabatha Jones-Beckford
Occupation: Owner of GruGrux Media, an Internet marketing company in Janesville.
Dancing because: She felt it was time to sink some roots into her community and move forward in her mission of bringing business and community together.
On the side: She moved here four years ago and believes Janesville is the perfect place to raise a family.
Interesting tidbit: She spends a lot of time with her family, which is always on the go to either hockey practice, weekend trips or just hanging out in the community.
Male dancer: Zac Fowler
Occupation: Owner of Z Travel Tours, Janesville.
Dancing because: He is dedicating this dance to his daughters and his friend Kelly, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
On the side: He leads group tours to Mexico and the Caribbean as well as books individual travel at All-Ways Travel, Janesville.
Interesting tidbit: He also does promotion and event planning part time.
Jennie Krajeck and Joe Jimenez
Music: "The Time of My Life" by Black Eyed Peas
Instructor: Esther Turner, Janesville.
Female dancer: Jennie Krajeck
Occupation: Director of events and small business services at Forward Janesville
Dancing because: She is dancing for her grandparents. Her grandpa died three years ago from complications due to Alzheimer's disease, and her grandma has Alzheimer's disease and lives in a nursing home.
On the side: She was born and raised in Rock County and loves being part of this community.
Interesting tidbit: She serves on the board of directors for the YWCA and is a volunteer coach for Special Olympics basketball.
Male dancer: Joe Jimenez
Occupation: Visionary for Local
Dancing because: He thought it would be fun and exciting to learn something new while helping raise money for the Alzheimer's Support Center.
On the side: He is a longtime Janesville resident and father of four children ages 6 to 12.
Interesting tidbit: Besides learning how to dance, he's also learning how to play the guitar.