Nine dancing docs, months of practice and one winner
Mary Ann Harwood
And the winner is …
The community of people with cancer on Cape Cod.
And every doctor who participated in Dancing with the Docs Cape Cod, and the audience at Willowbend who saw a great show.
But Mary Ann Harwood, DO, an emergency room physician at Cape Cod Hospital, is the one who gets to keep the trophy.
The Dancing with the Docs gala event on March 4 featured nine local doctors, each dancing with an expert partner. The event raised over $100,000 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.
“All of us at Cape Wellness Collaborative are blown away by the generosity and support we received from everyone involved,” said Sarah Swain, CWC founder and CEO. “It was a fabulous, inspiring and unforgettable evening.”
A panel of three judges scored each dancing couple on technical skill, timing, dance style and audience appeal. Audience voting, in the form of donations via text, accounted for one quarter of the final score.
Dr. Harwood and her partner, Adam Spencer, performed a country western dance to Gretchen Wilson’s 2004 hit song, “Redneck Woman.”
“I felt privileged to dance with Adam,” she said. “He’s an unbelievable instructor and partner.” She and Spencer got a late start, as she filled in after another physician had to drop out in January.
She was “a nervous wreck” the night of the show.
“I just had to put on a big smile and go forward with it,” she said. “I was totally surprised to win. It could have been anybody’s trophy. They all deserve it.”
Dr. Harwood brought the disco-ball trophy, made by steel sculptor Steve Swain, owner of the Frying Pan Gallery in Wellfleet, to the ER and received a round of applause from her colleagues. Since then she’s loaned the trophy to other participating doctors, so they could display it in their offices.
The idea for the fund-raiser came from Cape Cod Hospital surgeon Kathryn Dalton, DO, who had heard about a similar event in Minnesota when she was chatting with a doctor at an American Society of Breast Surgeons conference in Dallas last year.
“Our event far exceeded what I had imagined it being when I first brought the idea to Sarah Swain,” said Dr. Dalton, who danced the salsa with Tracy Anderson. “I’m thrilled at the amount we raised for our cancer patients and even more proud of my community, which came together in support of those affected by cancer.
“I’m now able to refer all of my patients over to CWC. I tell my patients these services are available to them for free – and to please use it since I danced with my heart and soul for them!”
Patty Fater, MD, a family practitioner, did a swing dance with Doug McHugh (Doug’s wife, Kimberlee, did the rumba with Patty’s husband, Marc Fater, MD, a plastic surgeon).
“Marc and I had a great time from the very beginning of this venture,” she said. “Everyone was so into it and I loved seeing everyone all glammed up. The money raised was crazy good and the awareness raised was even better.”
The other dancing docs and their partners were:
- Jennifer Crook, MD, medical oncologist (jazz, Billy Flynn)
- Jose Fernandez, DC, chiropractor (waltz, Norah Dale Allen)
- Jeffrey Martin, MD, medical oncologist (disco, Rebecca Terkelsen)
- Molly Sullivan, MD, radiation oncologist (tango, Pam Wills)
- Darijan Suton, PhD, manager of employee wellness at Cape Cod Hospital (cha-cha, Debbie Israel)
The audience at the event took part in live and silent auctions and enjoyed a gourmet dinner designed by Delicious Living Nutrition and the Willowbend culinary team. Free viewing parties were held at The Loft (at the Cove) in West Yarmouth, and the Seaside Pub on Main in Hyannis, where viewers could see coverage hosted by Sarah Nelson on Cape Cod Community Media.
“We have more work to do, but the results of this event tell us in no uncertain terms that work we do is important, needed, and embraced,” said Sarah Swain. “We are one big step closer to making sure that every person in our community facing this indiscriminate and insidious disease will have access to Cape Wellness Collaborative services.”
Photos courtesy of Joe Navas/Organic Photography. To see more pictures, visit the event’s Facebook page.