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Benefit Dance Performance Held at St. Joe

Students from Charmette Academy of Dance and Acrobatics raised money for one of their own who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

On Friday night, the Stars of Tomorrow Dance Company from  Charmette Academy of Dance and Acrobatics held a benefit performance, "Dancing for Clare," in the auditorium at .

They raised over $7,000 through admission, merchandise and raffle sales to help one of their own, 13-year-old Clare Blase, in her battle with cancer. Blase was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma in January and has been undergoing chemotherapy since then.

The evening started with a slideshow of photos of Blase, who is still trying to dance as much as she can, and an audio recording of her greeting to the supporters that came out on Friday night.

"I'm going to kick cancer in the butt and grow stronger every day," she said in her recording.

The event was organized by the high school students in Stars of Tomorrow, including St. Joe senior Monica Macheca.

"It went better than I could have imagined," Macheca said. "God was definitely in the room tonight."

St. Joe Assistant Principal Karen Davis, who helped Macheca secure the auditorium for the performance, was also in attendance that night.

"It's great that our facilities could be used for such a good cause," Davis said.

Blase was scheduled to make an appearance and perform with her fellow dancers that night, but she was unable to attend due to a hospitalization related to her illness. However, her parents did stop by St. Joe, and her mother spoke to the crowd and the dancers.

"Clare's heart is truly broken that she can't be here tonight," Cindy Blase said. "John and I cannot tell you how much this means to us. From the bottom of our hearts, you kids are the reason Clare is getting better. You inspire her."

At the end of the performance, Charmette co-owner and co-director Margie Rowe (who also teaches health and physical education at ) announced that the dancers would like to make this into a yearly event to benefit the kids with cancer who are patients at Children's Hospital in St. Louis, where Clare is receiving her treatment.

More information about Clare can be found on Charmette's website.

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