Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

About DFAC • Press •  Events • Scrapbook • Gallery Be a Sponsor  Donate • DanceMarathon • Links • ContactHome

Please click any title to read it.


Listen to Susan's interview with Matt Pitta on









When Mary Jo Keenan went for medical testing in 2005, it was for something minor, which happened to lead to something major when Keenan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Now, more than 11 years later, Keenan is lending her support to the annual Dancing for a Cure fundraising event, while soldiering on through her own ongoing treatments. Read her story...



2016 Dance Marathon Features "the Bald Ballerina" - Cape Cod Times

Turning Pointe Dancers perform in Boston

Bald Ballerina Comes to Cape Cod. | Read as PDF.

The "Bald Ballerina" visited Cape Cod in August 2015. See photos. Read story.

All ages step out at 2015 Marathon to fight cancer | view as PDF

By Rachael Devaney
Contributing writer

Posted Mar. 19, 2015 at 2:00 AM
Updated Mar 19, 2015 at 5:56 PM

Displaying moves from Zumba to jazz, Cape Cod performers will dance their way Saturday night toward what they hope will someday be a cure for breast and ovarian cancer.
With WFRQ deejay Stephanie Viva on the mic, the fifth annual "Dancing for a Cure" dance marathon will provide four straight hours of open dance and choreographed performances. The benefit will raise money for Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, as well as its Cape Cod outreach program.
The event, according to a press release, is loosely based on dance marathon fads of the 1920s and 1930s and will require that dancers stay on their feet for 20 minute at a time. The intervals will be broken up by water breaks and performances given by featured groups and organizations, including The Academy of Performing Arts, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Center Stage Dance Academy, Dance Designs and Dream Studios Cape Cod. There will also be appearances by the Girl Scouts of America and Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as a New England Patriots cheerleader.
In addition, a warm-up Zumbathon will precede the main event. Ten area instructors will donate their time before the non-stop dancing begins.
Susan Friedman, who founded Dancing for a Cure in 2006 in honor of her friend Karen Schek (who died in 2012), says the marathon brings “amazing” people together through a passion for dance and the desire to find a cure for cancer. She, designated “dance captains” and others will lead the “nonstop music and dancing” to music that ranges from pop to oldies and even line-dancing tunes.
During the evening, trophies will be awarded, she says, including “tiniest dancer,” “best couple,” “best male dancer” and even “most energetic.”
“Then, at the fourth hour, the event will close with Donna Summer's 'Last Dance,' and everyone will congratulate each other and go home,” Friedman says. “Last year, there were about 300 dancers and this year, we are expecting at least 450 because of the Zumbathon and new groups that will attend."
One dance captain, Shannon Murphy, who has been involved with the event since 2006, says she will travel to the Cape from New York City where she dances with the Joffrey Ballet School - just to be part of Dancing for a Cure. She lost her grandmother and her cousin to breast cancer, she says, and can't think of a better way to honor their memory.
"Dancing for four hours could easily tire anyone out, but it is our job to keep all of the dancers energized, smiling and, most importantly, having fun. The upbeat dance songs and classic line dances help, but I think the fact that everyone attending this event gets to be a part of something so special is what makes it worth it," Murphy says. "At the end of the marathon, there is a feeling of accomplishment that fills the gymnasium but I mostly feel a great sense of hope and community. There is something so powerful about a large group of people coming together for a greater purpose."
While the Dancing for a Cure foundation was established in 2006, Jennifer Rako began the dance marathon in 2011, with proceeds going to Dancing for a Cure. Since 2006, other Dancing for a Cure events and the marathon have raised $260,000 for Dancing for a Cure to help others in the community who are still fighting.
"We are still in touch with one of the researchers that we donated to and because of our funds, she was able to buy a machine she needed for her research," Friedman says. In addition, a Mashpee High School student had an opportunity to visit and shadow a Dana-Farber cancer researcher who received a large portion of funding from last year's "Dancing for a Cure.
She encourages the community to come together at the marathon for a wholesome night of fun and dancing that will help battle the debilitating disease.
"By the end of the night, my legs are cramping, and my feet and my calves hurt, but it is the most fun I have all year," she says. "The sad reality is that it's hard to find someone that isn't affected by cancer and while it's depressing and we lose a lot of people, we also have this event that inspires a feeling of camaraderie and sisterhood, which is a great and wonderful feeling. So come join us and help us find a cure."


Dr.Jennifer Guerriero receives research funding from DFAC.

• 2014 Simberg Award
Susan Mendoza Friedman,of Cotuit, founding member of Dancing for a Cure, has been awarded the 2014 Simberg Award which honors a Sidney Farber volunteer for their spirit of service. This year the award has been increased to $10,000 and is made possible through the Dana-Farber Oncology Leadership Fund, generously funded by Charles and Rowena Simberg of Scottsdale, AZ.
In September, Ms. Friedman, a member of the Friends of Dana Farber, will be allocating her award to cutting edge research of Ovarian Cancer at the DFCI in memory of her best friend Karen S. Schek. Dancing for a Cure, a Cape Cod organization has been raising funds for ovarian and cancer research and support of those in treatment for the past 8 years.

Hear 2 DFAC Radio interviews:

Dana Farber Newletter - Dancing For a Cure (read as PDF)

The Barnstable Patriot - Still ‘Dancing For a Cure’

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, May 2013, Partner Member Profile: Dancing For A Cure

Barnstable Patriot, December 2012, "LETTERS: Dancing for a Cure"

Barnstable Patriot, December 2012, "Dancing for a cure tops $200K in total fundraising"

Inside the Institute, Dana-Farber Newsletter, December 2012, "Dancing For A Cure Dancers Perform"

Cape Cod Times, December 2012, "Dancing for the cure fundraiser planned ”

Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 2011 Honor Roll of Donors

Dance Teacher Magazine, March 2012: "Feel-good Fundraising"

• Cape Cod Times, December 2011: "Nutcracker with a Heart"

Cape Cod Life Magazine, December 2010: "Gifts Without Season"

Cape Cod Times, May 23, 2011: "Hyannis Dancer Raises Money for Cancer Research".
  View award ceremony video (mp4/iPhone format).

Read the testimonial letter by MJ Keenan about how she was affected by "Dancing For A Cure".

Cape Cod Times, December 2008: "Cape Girl Dances for a Cure"

Friends of Dana Farber


Donate to DFAC and the Friends of Dana Farber