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In Anna's honor

Local 11-year-old inspires fundraiser this Sunday for Knight Cancer Institute

SUBMITTED PHOTO - To help 11-year-old dancer Anna Seely in her battle against acute myeloid leukemia, the Lake Oswego community is holding a fundraiser on Sunday at Lakeridge Junior High.The Lake Oswego community is holding a fundraiser Sunday for Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute in honor of a little girl who loves to dance.

Lakeridge Junior High sixth-grader Anna Seely learned she had acute myeloid leukemia just a few days before Christmas. The 11-year-old has spent the past six months since then combating cancer — and she just came home from Randall Children’s Hospital last week.

She and her family weren’t available for an interview with The Review, but her friends from Lake Oswego Academy of Dance, where she’s been dancing for several years, had lots to say about her.

“We’re excited to have her be a part of our little family again,” said Marisa Menkins, the dance academy’s artistic director. “We’ve missed her so much.”

Lakeridge Junior High, Lake Oswego Academy of Dance and Resurrection Catholic Parish of Tualatin are banding together to put on a fundraiser this Sunday, May 31, at the junior high. The dancing will kick off at 10 a.m., with 30-minute shows at the top of each hour running until 5 p.m. All of the dance academy’s 450 members, who range in age from 4 to 18, will be part of the fifth-annual Spring Fundraiser show. The academy holds a fundraiser each year, usually for Meals on Wheels. But this time, Anna became the focus.

“She’s our inspiration,” Menkins said.

There’s a $5 suggested donation per person. An additional donation will earn a chance to win prizes in a drawing featuring donated Nike and Lucy products, as well as gift baskets. All proceeds will go to the Beat AML project at the Knight Cancer Institute.

AML is a molecularly complex form of leukemia for which there are no broadly effective treatments. The Beat AML project will add more collaborators, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, to a reasearch effort that will test a comprehensive offering of novel drugs, according to the OHSU website.

“Anna and her family strongly believe in the dedicated work of the researchers and doctors of the Beat AML project at the Knight Cancer Institute,” a press release says.

Donations also will help OHSU reach the $500 million mark for a $1 billion cancer research initiative. In 2013, Phil & Penny Knight issued a 100 percent matching grant for the initiative.

In addition to getting the chance to participate in a major cancer fundraising initiative and enter a drawing, attendees at Sunday’s event will be treated to a day of refreshments, face painting and an art table. Resurrection Catholic Parish is helping it all come together, and there are also Girl Scouts pitching in.

“We’re just all thrilled that we have such great volunteer support, and we’re so grateful to be able to support Anna and the cause,” said Patti Cowdery, the dance academy’s office manager. “This is an event that’s very near and dear to our hearts. It’s very special to all of us.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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