Rayettes Dance Company presented an Afternoon with Santa and open house. The event featured dance performances by the dancers of Beavercreek’s Madonna’s School of Dance to help a previous student’s battle with cancer. The open house was Sunday, December 13 at the Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene. A portion of the money raised was donated to Robyn Ulrich’s family to help with the cost of traveling to see their daughter during treatments.
The Rayettes Dance Company is the competitive dance team for Madonna’s School of Dance. The dancers in Rayettes attend three to four competitions a year. They perform Christmas dances at the Mall at Fairfield Commons, local nursing homes, the Schuster Center and other locations. They also host a Halloween party so that local children can have a safe place to go.
Pam Pavy, office manager at Madonna’s School of Dance and President of the Rayettes Dance Company Boosters organization said each year, during the Afternoon with Santa, the organization gives back to an organization or an area family in need. This year, when the girls were asked what to do with the proceeds from this years’ event, the girls didn’t hesitate: they knew it should go to help one of their “family members”, Robyn Ulrich.
“It’s been my goal over the last 6 years to instill “giving back or paying it forward” in our young dancers,” Pavy said. “It brings tears of joy to my eyes to see the young dancers want to give back now.”
Ulrich has been dancing competitively for years until she developed a knee injury in 2009. She didn’t think she would be able to dance again. But, in 2011, she returned and started working under the instruction of dancers at Madonna’s School of Dance. That year, she had her first solo dance and she also attended her last national dance competition and won second overall. According to Pavy, dancing was her outlet and she had an uncanny passion for dancing. Ulrich graduated from Springboro High School in 2014 and moved away to attend college at Bowling Green State University.
In early October of this year, Ulrich was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), treatment began immediately and her health declined rapidly. She experienced complications from the chemotherapy medications from the beginning. She’s in need of a bone marrow transplant. But, currently, even if they found a bone marrow match, she isn’t stable enough to go through the procedure to accept it. She’s fighting for her life. She’s 19 years old, on a ventilator, dialysis and has a feeding tube. She’s also experiencing liver and kidney failure and has developed a mass behind her eye, to which the origin is unknown.
“That’s one thing about Madonna’s School of Dance, once you enter the school you become part of our family and you remain part of the family,” Pavy said.
Afternoon with Santa was an afternoon filled with dancing, games, raffles, crafts, refreshments, cake walk, and of course, a visit with Santa. Raffle tickets were for sale for a chance to win blankets made by the dancers of the Rayette Dance Company, as well as other raffled items.
Robyn was receiving cancer treatments at James Center for Cancer at The Ohio State University. Her parents, Rebecca and John drive over 160 miles to be with her during her treatments. The money raised during the open house would be used to help fund their trips and help make it a little easier to spend much needed time together, especially during the holidays. Robyn also has two brothers, Kris and Michael.
For more information, contact Madonna’s School of Dance at (937) 429-9444.
*** UPDATE: During the event, it was announced that Robyn will not be having a funeral service but will have a memorial service in March. The family has invited the Madonna School of Dance to perform during the service. The writer of this article was not able to confirm the death of Robyn or if the family was just planning ahead.