Dancers Against Cancer


It was about a year ago, I think, when I first became aware of DAC. I quite honestly, can not tell you how I learned of them. However it did happen, I am glad for it. I whole heartedly believe in what Mare and company are doing. What are they doing exactly, you ask?

Marilyn Hess founded Dancers Against Cancer along with her daughter and niece, to help raise funds for those battling cancer. They accomplish this through sales of their tshirts and a variety of other community events.

For their full story, please visit here:
http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/article_22cf0d07-a9db-542a-9681-db88708abce5.html

I was eager to do my little part in the beginning, buying a shirt and pushing the events on my page. In time, we discussed the possibility of having me come out to Utah to be part of a fundraiser. Eventually, those talks picked up and I traveled there to help raise funds for a young lady named Sarah Hays Shurtz.

Here is the page for Sarah:

http://www.facebook.com/sweatinforsarah

I arrived in Salt Lake City on Friday the 26th, my birthday. Sadly, as I landed in Denver to change planes, I learned that one of my childhood friends lost his battle with colon cancer. He had been battling it off and on for years. Such a tragic loss!

Marilyn picked me up from the airport and we traveled some doing site visits. During this adventure, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the Dance Club dance studio. We drove around some more then headed to Bridal Veil Falls for my first shoot!

Here is a shot from there!

From here, we traveled to Sundance and shot at the resort there. I loved it here! so beautiful! Here is a shot from there…

Here is a shot of me at work:

This ended my session with Bree and it was time to head up to Squaw Peak for a session with Kenzie, Mare’s daughter. OMG, the ride UP the mountain was soooo white knuckle for me. I don’t do well with heights. Once I was up there, I was fine, but it was the lack of road on my side of the car, on the way that was the issue. lol

Immediately, Kenzie and I connected and were very comfortable and joking around. She has a great, warm and fun personality and I took to it from the start. We did two wardrobe changes and they wanted sunset shots.

Here is a sample from the first one:

Here is one from the second, and my favorite outfit, with the sunset behind us.

This is one of me and Kenzie. She was so cool. I think I have a new little sister!

I had so much fun up there. Such great images too! After the session, we went out for a bite to eat. I really enjoyed the meal and our conversation! It was getting late and we had an early morning ahead of us at the Sweatin for Sarah 5k, so Mare dropped me off at where I was staying (with Kenzie’s dad) in Orem.

Saturday morning, we headed over to Highland High School for the Sweatin for Sarah 5k. Here, I finally met Gev, from Season 4 of SYTYCD. He was a blast. I took some candids of the runners, then awaited Sarah’s entrance on a motorcycle.

Everyone received a purple balloon to be released when Sarah arrived.

She was so overwhelmed by the show of support and love!

After the festivities were done, I finally got a chance to meet Sarah and had my picture taken with her. I was moved to tears and could hardly make eye contact with her. Just an amazing spirit!

To help raise money, people had their pictures taken with Gev for $5.00.

Before we knew it, the parking lot had cleared and it was now time for my shoot with Gev. He was a blast to work with and we got some great images!

Dinner time was fastly approaching and having not eaten much since breakfast, we headed over to Park City for some grub. We landed at Red Rock, I think. I ordered nothing but fried food and beer. Let me tell you how well that went over that night. EEEEEK. The SIZE of these onion rings.

After the meal, back to Orem, I went. Just chilled for a while, then Jeff’s roommate, Mark, wanted to watch the movie, 300, so he and I headed down to the man cave with drinks and snacks and some theater action, on this bad boy…

Great night of manly bonding! I really loved those guys!

Sunday was a very chill day. I had one shoot, locally. In fact, it was right out front of the house. Here is why:

Well, that and I didnt have a car. But with amazing scenery right out front, we didnt need to travel.

Here is Zach. Zach is a young boy with SPD and is part of a project I am doing for SPD.

We had fun!!! This also marked the rest of my “work” in Utah. I did some editing and putzed around mostly on Sunday, helped the boys with some things around the house, then we had dinner and watched the VMAs. They were fun to watch it with!!! Did I tell you I loved my roomies! Sooo much fun! Wish I had more time to hang with them!!!

The next morning, I was back at the airport and on my way home. I had so much fun in Utah. Met a lot of amazing people. What a life changing trip!

Here are some behind the scenes of me shooting:

http://www.youtube.com/user/bmengini?feature=mhee#p/a/u/2/N5FPUTvoKp0

Here are some behind the scenes of Sweatin for Sarah:
http://www.youtube.com/user/marehesstv?feature=chclk

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2 Responses to Dancers Against Cancer

  1. Lisa Kruger says:

    Brian…first of beautiful…priceless photos as I am sure priceless moments for you. You arrived with a loss of a friend who lost his battle to something you were going to fight for…ironic? And you left with many more friends. Wow isn’t life that a journey…

  2. Marilyn Hess says:

    Brian,

    I can’t even begin to thank you for taking time out of your life, especially on your birthday, to spend it with strangers in Utah! No one is stranger than Mckenzie and I…haha! There was an immediate bond with you a long time ago when you first found my page “Dancers Against Cancer” on facebook. It was good to help each other promote our causes!
    Having you come to Utah and support Sarah was a big sacrifice for you and your family. One I will always appreciate and be glad you did! No only did we share laughs and tears, but you gave me some beautiful pictures of Mckenzie (my daughter) that I will cherish the rest of my life! The connection you 2 had comes shining through every photo!
    I remember telling you how meeting Sarah would change your life because of her amazing spirit! I watched you tear up as Sarah rode into the event on the back of that motorcycle and I knew immediately that your heart had been touched just like mine had when I first met her! You walked away from that event a better man!
    I watched my sweet niece, a dancer, battle this horrible disease! This is how it all began for me… because of her… I am a better person!
    Again, thank you for having such a heart of gold and for all your work in supporting those amazing people who fight cancer every single day!
    I love my friend,
    Marilyn Hess
    Dancers Against Cancer

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