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Dream. Hope. Believe. It’s not just a slogan — it’s an atti-

tude. A group of skaters will bring these feelings to life on the ice as they per- form in the annual Skate for Hope show at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on June 16. The show, which raises money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Cen- ter and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, will feature three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, 2012 U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and 2012 U.S. silver medalist Adam Rip- pon. In addition, Skate for Hope will be the debut of new pairs team Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan. “The show is a party and celebra-

tion of life and is dedicated to all of the cancer survivors present in the au- dience,” said Carolyn Bongirno, founder of Skate for Hope. Also participating in the show are

several members of the Gilles family — Todd, Piper, Shelby and Alexe. “We have had a few close family friends who have had breast cancer, and my grandpa had colon cancer as well,” said Alexe Gilles. “That’s why it’s so important for us to do this show. We just love to give back and support a cause with so many inspirational peo- ple.”

Skate for Hope, which began in

2004, has raised $370,000 toward the cause. For 2012, they hope to raise $100,000.

“Our goals and dreams are ex-

panding,” she said. “2013 will mark the 10th anniversary of Skate for Hope, and with this milestone, we plan to reach $500,000 as well as expand to two to three other cities.” For more information, please visit — Kama Korvela

Alexe Gilles is joined at Skate for Hope 2011 by local cast members Natalie Bongirno and Jenny and Suzy L’Hommedieu.


Claire LaDue, ice show director at the St. Clair Shores Figure Skating Club in St. Clair Shores, Mich., still smiles when she recalls this story.

“I once taught this little boy who had to go

to the bathroom during our lesson, so I told him to hurry up. He came back to the ice very quick- ly so I asked him if he had washed his hands. He then held up both his hands and said, ‘I didn’t need to. I’m wearing gloves.’” LaDue’s story is just one of the many amus-

ing coaches’ stories shared on the new Facebook page A Coach’s Chuckle-For-The-Day. Jamie Lynn Santee, a coach at the Roches-

ter Figure Skating Club in Rochester, Minn., was intrigued by the many skating group pages on Facebook and created the page. Santee is also the social media manager for the Professional Skaters Association (PSA). Choosing the subject was easy. “Out of the mouths of babes,” Santee said. “So often through my years of coaching and raising my own children, people would say ‘You should write that stuff down.’ I thought if

it’s been suggested to me it’s sure to have been suggested to others.”  - fully

straightforward take on life that makes their comments so amusing. “I was hoping that the group posts would

connect coaches everywhere to remember part of why we love to teach so much,” Santee said. Getting coaches to “like” the page and join

 members and growing. “I just invited my friends to join and after a while their friends asked to join as well,” Santee said.

Santee believes the page is popular with

coaches because it is just plain fun. “People want to join in,” she said. “Anyone

who works with children can relate to their in- nocent view on life. It is so refreshing.” Santee invites all coaches to check out the

page. Ask to join A Coach’s Chuckle-For-The- Day on Facebook so that you too can join in and share your silly and memorable moments on ice. — Joanne Vassallo Jamrosz



ing Club raised more than $8,000 and signed up 20 new potential bone marrow donors at its  Match Foundation and the National Marrow Do- nor Program. Inspired by the story of a local teenage

girl, who, with her family, was a special guest of the club at the Marrowthon, the all-night event was held in December at Grand Rapids’ Pat- terson Ice Arena. Skaters, parents, coaches and members of the local hockey association and community came together to raise funds and awareness for the nation’s bone marrow donor registry. “This is a great group of skaters and par-

ents and we are proud of the way they worked        skating and club spirit during the holiday sea- son,” club president Jenny Khorey said. “Every- one had fun.” The club’s annual Christmas ice show kicked

off the program in a festive fashion for the nearly 500 in attendance, followed by hock- ey games pitting adult coaches of local youth teams against each other as well as a featured midnight matchup between teams representing  Between events participants enjoyed open

skating, a live band, silent auction, karaoke, manicures and pedicures and a variety of group games, as well as visits from the Davenport Uni-

 A local radio station broadcast live from the arena. Representatives of the National Marrow

Donor Program were on hand to screen and register new potential donors for the national registry. Club skaters solicited pledges in ad- vance to raise donations. A synchronized skating demonstration and

clinic, broomball game and early morning visit and presentation by the “Sled Wings,” an ac- complished group of young hockey players with disabilities, closed out the program.   highlights,” said skater Julia Sauer, who with her older sister Megan raised the most in pledges. “We can’t wait to do this again next year.”


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