A resident of Mullica Hill used her dance skills for a good cause on Thursday, Sept. 26, raising $21,177 for the Alzheimer Association during The Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual Dancing with the Gloucester County Stars competition at Auletto Caterers in Almonesson.
Rita Cangi-Kramer, with dance partner Jason Flores of LaPierre Ballroom Dance Studio in Glassboro, won the dance competition portion of the event after dancing a combination of Bachata, Argentine Tango and Salsa. There were a total of four shows and a finale. Shows started in August and ended in September.
The best technical dancer is one of the three awards that were given. Cody Miller, who raised $71,835 for The Rowan College Foundation, received the Community Award. Bob Robinson, who raised $35,445 for Emmanuel Cancer Foundation, received the Congeniality Award.
“I really was truly honored to win amongst a group of people who worked so hard to put a routine together, get steps down, be connected to their dancer,” said Kramer. “Jason really had a competitive edge, so it matched my personality because I have a competitive edge.”
After raising more than $2 million in the past 13 years, this year’s theme was “Two Million and Beyond.” The event raised $184,501 this year, according to committee member Kristine Coniglio.
For the last four months, Kramer and her fellow competitors practiced their dance moves at LaPierre Ballroom Dance Studio in preparation for the event.
Kramer is the physician liaison and marketing director at Premier Orthopaedic Associates and a member of The Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.
“I really love to serve the community. I love people, I love building relationships, and I thought this would be a great opportunity,” said Kramer.
Raising more than $21,000 was no easy feat, according to Kramer.
When she first heard about an open spot in the competition, she quickly realized that she needed the support of her employer to help fundraise. Her employer participated in Casual for a Cause every Friday for 11 weeks to raise money, which asked its employees to dress casual and wear purple in honor of Alzheimer’s for a fee of $5 a week.
Kramer’s decision to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease was not a random one. The disease has been personal to her for the past six years when her aunt was diagnosed. It wasn’t until Kramer told her employer about the decision that she found out that the company’s CEO has a mother with the disease.
Kramer used her marketing skills for a good cause by using her relationship with physicians, attorneys and other health-care providers to ask them to donate.
“Before every dance and every practice, I would just ask for the blessing of ‘help me with my thoughts, my words and my dance moves,’” remembers Kramer, who added the latter part to her daily prayers during the competition.
The finale will be on TV on local channels on Friday, Oct. 4 to Oct. 7 at noon and 8 p.m on channel 97 with Comcast or channel 34 with Verizon.
For anyone interested in donating to Kramer’s cause, donations can still be made to act.alz.org/goto/alzstarteam.