Spring Dance Event to Benefit UCSF Brain Tumor Center

Dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond will take the stage on March 20 and 21 for the fourth annual brain tumor benefit performance event “Spring Dance Inspiration.”

Tickets are now on sale for the annual dance extravaganza, which returns to the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco to help raise awareness of brain tumors and funds for UCSF Brain Tumor Center.

The Brain Tumor Center at UCSF is one of the largest and most comprehensive programs for brain tumor treatments. It includes the Division of Neuro-oncology, the Brain Tumor Research Center, and the Division of Translational Research. The center also offers social services and neuropsychological consultation, and has close ties with organizations sponsoring support groups and other resources for patient and their families.

In this year’s fundraising event, guest speakers include:

  • Mitchel S. Berger, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, and director of Brain Tumor Center at UCSF;
  • C. David James, PhD, professor of neurological surgery, associate director of the Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF; and
  • Nalin Gupta, MD, PhD, associate professor in residence of neurological surgery and director of Pediatric Neurological Surgery Program at UCSF.

The program will include performers such as Axis Dance Company, a group with a physically disabled individual who has danced internationally; T’s Dance Inspiration Ballet Ensemble that includes UCSF dancers, such as Heejay A. Chung, DMD, Elizabeth Dunn and Edgar Lepe and Loose Change Dance Company, which will perform Hip-Hop Contemporary Fusion, and the list goes on.

The annual dance fest is the result of a collaboration that began years ago in a small dance studio in San Francisco’s Mission District where two dance-driven women met.

Tomoko Ozawa, MD, PhD, a research scientist in the Brain Tumor Research Center, part of the Department of Neurological Surgery at UCSF, and Kumiko Dews, an interior designer from Japan, both shared the love of dance and a common thirst to help society. Together, they co-founded TK Fundraising Productions (TKFP) in 2006.

TKFP is a volunteer group that has set the stage for high-quality cultural and artistic fundraising events for non-profit anti-cancer organizations. For the past three years each spring, TKFP has hosted a passionate union of dancers and generous donors for a benefit event that supports brain tumor research and patient care. More than $110,000 dollars have been raised and donated to the brain tumor community over the past four years.

The fundraising event not only aims to promote a cure for brain tumors, but also to improve the quality of life for patients with brain tumors, give hope to the brain tumor community by funding meaningful research, and provide patients with resources, timely information and education, explains Ozawa.

“Right now we’re focusing our fundraising events on the field of brain tumors,” says Ozawa. “This year, we’re focusing on pediatric brain tumor research and patient care services.”

Dews, a mother herself, expressed how difficult it must feel for parents whose child is diagnosed with a brain tumor. With the increasing number of pediatric cases and a weakened economy, mounting medical bills certainly places extraordinary pressure on families. “Any money that’s being donated,” Dews says, “means a ray of hope for a patient and their families.”

General adult tickets are $42. A range of prices and discounts for students, patients and seniors are available on the Spring Dance Inspiration 2010 website. Those who would like to make a tax-deductible donation should visit the website.

Ashani Chand contributed to this report.

Related Links:

Brain Tumor Center at UCSF

Dancing for a Cure 2010!
Synapse, February 18, 2010