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Published on February 05, 2018

Dancing With the Docs crowns a new championDancing With the Docs crowns a new champion

Nancy Schaefer, MD, and partner Adam.

Nancy Schaefer, MD, took her two sons to the Dancing With the Docs dress rehearsal the night before the event, and one of them asked where her trophy was going to go.

“I didn’t win,” she told him.

“You will,” he said.

He was right.

Eight medical practitioners competed in the 2018 edition of Dancing with the Docs Cape Cod on Saturday night at Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster. Dr. Schaefer, an emergency medicine physician, and her dance partner Adam Spencer won the second DWTD competition with a dazzling waltz to the music of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

The other participating doctors were:

  • Suzanne Corrado, MD, internist (West Coast swing with Doug McHugh)
  • Clara Mesonero, MD, pathologist (rumba with John Vazquez)
  • Christopher Novak, PharmD, pharmacist (American swing with Naomi Turner)
  • Jill Oxley, MD, surgeon (disco with Michelle Colley)
  • Kumara Sidhartha, MD, internist and Medical Director at Emerald Physicians (salsa with Leah Calitri)
  • Sarah Todd, MD, emergency medicine physician (foxtrot with David Troutman with coaching by Norah Dale Allen)
  • Kevin Vilsaint, MD, anesthesiologist (tango with Rebecca Terkelsen)

Dancing With the Docs Cape Cod is a fundraiser for Cape Wellness Collaborative (CWC), a local nonprofit that gives free complementary, integrative therapies (including massage, acupuncture, Reiki and nutrition counseling) to people with cancer.

Kumara Sidhartha, MD and partner Leah.

In 2017, the event raised over $100,000 for CWC. The final numbers aren’t in yet for this year, but it looks like it will be even more successful.

The organization was founded in 2014 and began serving clients in 2015.

“Since then we have served 315 clients, providing them with $120,000 worth of services, thanks to the generosity of this community,” said Sarah Swain, CWC founder and CEO.

Tickets for this year’s event went on sale in November and sold out quickly. Additional spectators watched on a pay-per-view livestream produced by the Cape Cod Community Media Center.

The doctors and partners who competed in the debut of Dancing With the Docs in 2017 kicked off the show by returning to the stage for a “flash mob”-style group dance to Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” The group included last year’s winning doctor, Mary Ann Harwood, DO, an emergency room physician at Cape Cod Hospital.

A panel of four judges scored each dancing couple on technical skill, timing, dance style and audience appeal. The judges were British dance instructor Christine Harvey, celebrity impersonator Scott Townsend (aka Thirsty Burlington), Pat Kane, Cape Cod Healthcare Senior VP of Communications and Business Development; and Dr. Harwood, who won a seat on the judges’ panel in the night’s first live auction.

Ten percent of each dancing couple’s score was determined by the audience’s text votes at $2 per vote.

The rehearsals were “totally out of my comfort zone,” said Dr. Vilsaint.

“The preparation was a little challenging, but it’s nothing compared to the challenges that people with cancer face,” said Dr. Sidhartha.


Kevin Vilsaint, MD and partner Rebecca.

After the doctors and their partners danced, guest speaker Lindsay Bierwith addressed the crowd. Last April she was diagnosed with gastric cancer, shortly after she had moved back to Chatham with her family with plans to open Chatham Works, a fitness center and work space.

“I’ve always been the doer and fixer, but I couldn’t fix the cancer,” she said.

The director at her children’s nursery school introduced her to Swain. Through CWC, she received gift cards that she used for massage, acupuncture and nutrition counseling.

“I didn’t have to do any looking. It was all right there, it was paid for, and it made a huge difference in my recovery. Cape Wellness Collaborative has been my guardian angel.”

Following Bierwith’s moving speech, each doctor was presented with a white lab coat with the Dancing With the Docs logo. Then it was time to announce the winner.

Dr. Schaefer received a disco-ball trophy, made by steel sculptor Steve Swain, owner of the Frying Pan Gallery in Wellfleet. She said she plans to display it in her home on a fireplace mantel.

Dr. Schaefer’s best friend and maid of honor is undergoing treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

“I felt so helpless when I found out,” she said. “I didn’t know how I could help her, so I put my heart and soul into my dance rehearsals. So many people who are sick can’t get out of bed. To be able to put on shoes and dance is an honor. They were all with me tonight.”

Note: As of 5/1/2019, Emerald Physicians joined Medical Affiliates of Cape Cod (MACC), a division of primary and specialty care physicians from Cape Cod Healthcare.

Photos courtesy of Organic Photography.