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'Dancing for Hope' event gives sick kids a chance to have some fun

"It makes you happy, I guess—just giving back and seeing them smile," said one teenage volunteer.

DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Famous faces and community members came together, Saturday, in an effort to support hundreds of sick kids.

They are not your average audience, but they are sure encouraging and cute.  Hundreds of children with life-threatening illnesses watched as sixteen couples took the stage.

"We've paired [famous Utahns] up with professional dancers, and we're doing our own little Dancing With the Stars here in Utah," said Nicole Anderson, Program Manager for Hope Kids Utah.

But tonight was really about the kids.

"…kids with cancer and leukemia, and we have some with hydrocephalus and things like that," added Anderson

Toby Wilson is one of those kids.  He was diagnosed with leukemia at age two. 

"I used to just sit in bed and watch T.V.,” he said.

Five years have passed since Toby stopped treatment, but the family of nine still stays involved with Hope Kids.

"For us, even just going to the movies is 'break-the-bank.' Hope Kids is amazing.  It just provides something that we can do as a family, and we don't have to stress about it," said Tara Simmonds, Toby’s mother.  

Events like the one tonight also connect Toby and his family with others who face similar struggles.

"You see someone further along in treatment and you say, 'oh, it's going to get better. Oh, they're not going to be throwing up every single day in the future," Simmonds explained.  

Supporters and volunteers say the organization has changed their lives, too.

"It makes you happy, I guess—just giving back and seeing them smile," said one teenage volunteer.

Currently, the foundation has no limit on how many families can join.  Program leaders say that is because everyone can always use a little more hope.

"Stay strong and don't give up because I never gave up or anything, and I made it," Toby said.

 Tonight’s event was very successful, but Hope Kids Utah is always looking for more volunteers. Click on the following link to learn more about becoming involved:

https://www.hopekids.org/how-to-help/

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