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Dancing to raise money for Alzheimer’s center

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
April 19, 2012
— They are the nerdy finance couple more accustomed to counting dollars than counting dance steps.

“We know we’ll get the algebra down and hope it will be a little fun,’’ Terri Roessler said about herself and Tom Baer, her partner for the Alzheimer’s Support Center of Rock County Dancing With the Stars.


Roessler convinced Baer, her longtime business partner, to dance with her to raise money and awareness about the local support center.


She has no regrets.


“I’m having the time of my life. I can’t wait to be on stage,’’ Roessler said.


But he’s not so sure.


“I’d rather be in the audience. But if I can provide some awareness, great,” Baer admitted.


Both agree their involvement is a once-in-a-lifetime effort to help others.


Roessler, 49, of Evansville and Baer, 58, of Madison will be among six couples taking the stage the evening of Saturday, April 28, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center during the Alzheimer’s Support Center’s sixth annual fundraiser.


Neither had any dance experience.


“I did poms and was a cheerleader in high school,” Roessler said.


“I had a father/daughter dance at my daughter’s wedding last June and certainly don’t consider myself a dancer in any way shape or form,” Baer said.


Although they are more comfortable discussing capital expenditures than hustling across the dance floor, they’ve finalized their choreography to the song “Suspicious Minds,” as performed by King Junior. Now, they’re polishing and styling during weekly dance rehearsals, which started in December.


“It’s the flair and kind of the body English of fluid movements,’’ Roessler said.


“It’s the presentation and the pizzazz,” Baer said.


Neither realized how difficult the dancing would be.


“I had no idea how complicated, detail-oriented and the level of coordination it takes,” Roessler said.


“It’s complex,” Baer said. “There’s a lot more to it than either of us thought. There’s just a lot going on when you’re performing that you’re not used to sitting in an office.”


Still, Baer and Roessler realize good will come from stepping outside their comfort zones.


“Alzheimer’s, it’s everywhere today,” Baer said. “If everyone of us wasn’t impacted by it, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. So, I’ll forget about everything else and create awareness for the Alzheimer’s (Support Center). That’s our mission and what we want to accomplish.”


Roessler has been a caregiver for her mother since August 2010 and watched her father suffer from brain trauma and memory loss after he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1976.


“My heart bleeds when I hear about somebody that has to deal with a family member that has brain trauma. It’s life altering,” she said.


“You hope and pray for the best, but you really need a support system like the Alzheimer’s Support Center that is absolutely amazing in helping those caregivers.”



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