Athletes ages 4 to 18 gathered on March 20 for one reason: to skate for cancer.
An annual event, the free skating show featured young and developing figure skaters from across Utah County who came together to raise money for a cure.
Each has been affected by cancer, and short bios dedicated to loved ones lined the walls of the Seven Peaks Arena where the skaters performed.
“I am skating in honor of my mom who had cancer when I was born … I am glad she is alive to be my mom today,” wrote Lauren Spilker.
“I’m dedicating my skate to my Uncle Jared. He had a 30 percent chance of survival, and is now in remission. I’m grateful for opportunities like this to make a difference and raise money for a cure,” wrote Mckenzie Danielson.
“I am skating for my Grandma Lewis who had breast cancer two times and beat it! I love her and don’t ever want her to get cancer again,” wrote Reese Young, age 4.
Young’s older sister, Bryn, 6, skated for her paternal grandma who has bone cancer.
The girls love skating and were excited to skate for a purpose, said their mom, Stacey Young. They performed together to a mix from “Tangled” and Bryn performed solo to Imagine Dragon’s popular “On Top of the World.”
Ten-year-old Winnabel Campbell performed to “Bring on Tomorrow,” a song written and recorded by her grandpa, who has cancer.
Since he wasn’t able to make it to the show, Campbell’s family recorded a video for him.
“It means so much to me [to skate for him] because I just want to make him happy,” Campbell said.
The show lasted nearly two hours and the audience was enthusiastic and encouraging throughout. If a skater completed a jump the audience cheered; if a skater fell, they cheered louder.
The show’s finale, performed to David Archuleta’s “Glorious,” had many singing along and brought several to their feet.
Brianna Hatch, the show’s organizer, said its purpose was to show support and let local families know that people care. Show attendees were able to donate to numerous causes, including Millie’s Princess Foundation, a Utah-based foundation dedicated to raising awareness of childhood cancer and providing financial support to those affected by it.
“It’s a passion of mine to dedicate my talents to something other than competition,” Hatch said.
She is a former U.S. Figure Skating National and Young International team member and now teaches skating as a private coach and for BYU.
“It’s great to win a gold medal but it’s more important to have a gold heart,” she said.