North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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September 26, 2013

Gardendale dance event to raise money for cancer research

GARDENDALE — For the fifth year, a Gardendale student is hosting an event that will raise thousands of dollars for cancer research.

The fifth annual Tapping Out Childhood Cancer Gala is Sunday, 1:30-6 p.m., at Gabrella Manor in Bir­ming­ham.

One hundred percent of proceeds benefit pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital.

Alex Swader is the inspiration behind the event. Swader, who is 13, had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, when he was 8. He is in remission; he must go at least 10 years to officially be deemed cancer-free.

His mother, Michele Swader, organizes the gala every year, and it is a labor of love for her.

Last year’s gala raised more than $13,000 and had more than 500 people in attendance. Alex’s goal this year is $15,000.

Some well-known people in the dance world are associated with the gala. Jeremy Arnold, a professional tap dancer from New York City, will perform.

Also a choreographer from Chicago has offered to teach Alex a contemporary dance for the event that tells his story of cancer, treatment, remission and now helping others.

Eight dance studios from across the state will perform, along with Dancers Fighting Cancer, which was founded by Alex.

The emcee is Rob Conrad of Magic 96.5 radio.

There will also be food for sale, Children’s Hospital clowns, moonwalks, face painting, games, an open dance floor, a silent auction and more.

Tickets can be ordered at for $18, or tickets are $20 at the door.

Donations may be made at

Children 8 and younger are admitted for no charge.

Also, any child who has cancer or has ever had cancer will be admitted for free along with his or her family members. They need to call Michele Swader in advance at 261-1416.

To learn more, call Michele Swader at the number above or go to the Dancers Fighting Cancer page on Facebook.

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