Local Celebrities Help Raise Funds for Charleston Area Alzheimer’s Programs

The 13th annual Dancing with The ARK’s Stars raised nearly $105,000 for families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia in the Charleston area

On May 13, the community gathered to attend the 13th annual Dancing with The ARK’s Stars to raise nearly $105,000 for The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services. Proceeds from The ARK’s premier fundraiser support its many programs and essential services for families experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia in the Charleston area.

“Our celebrity dancers did an exceptional job the night of the event and with their fundraising leading up to the event,” says Allie Suber, Special Events Coordinator of The ARK. “Each of them set a fundraising goal and went above and beyond. We cannot thank them and our professional dancers enough for stepping out of their comfort zone to fundraise for The ARK and take countless hours to rehearse for their big performances."

Six dancers were each paired with a professional dance partner from the sponsor Ballroom Dance Charleston. The dancing duos performed at the event for a chance to win one of two titles: The Judge’s Award or The People’s Choice Award, which was voted on by the audience. The evening started with opening numbers from La Quinn Mims and Company as well as La Combi Perfecta.

Michael Tupper, Owner of Mike’s Garage, and professional dancer Charlene Mims took home the 2023 Mirror Ball Trophy. Tupper raised more than $11,000 for The ARK of SC. Prisicilla Johnson, Principal for Joseph Pye Elementary School and professional dancer Melody Chabala, earned the 2023 Judges' Award for their energetic Swing performance.

“It was a night to remember in Summerville,” says Peg Lahmeyer, executive director of The ARK. “We are incredibly grateful for the community support and support from the celebrity and professional dancers this year.”

Since 2021, the Lowcountry Conference Center at Summerville’s Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites has been the venue sponsor. Plus, Ballroom Dance Charleston provided professional dancers, training, and rehearsal space for the weeks leading up to the event. Dorchester County Probate Judge Mary Blunt was The Dancing with the ARK’s Star’s 2023 “Mirror Ball Sponsor.” This is Judge Blunt’s twelfth year as The ARK’s title sponsor in memory of her mother, Dr. Lidia Vallarino, who had Alzheimer's.

The 2023 dancers include:
● Lucia Campbell, Broker Sales Agent, Miler Properties, LLC
● Katie DePoppe, Executive Partner, Chick-fil-A Goose Creek & Summerville
● Lorna Hollifield, Managing Editor, Mt. Pleasant Magazine & Charleston Women’s Magazine
● Priscilla Johnson, Principal, Joseph Pye Elementary School, Dorchester District Two
● Michael Tupper, Owner, Mike’s Garage
● Bill Young, retired USAF and a professional pilot for Jenkins Aviation, Intertech Group

The 2023 professional dancers from Ballroom Dance Charleston coach the celebrity contestants and choreograph their routines. The professional dancers include:
● Michael Hogarth
● Debbie Housand
● David Roland
● Melody Chabala
● Charlene Mims
● James Jiang

The 2023 judges include:
● Carolyn Murray, WCBD News 2 co-anchor
● Russ Lloyd, Innovative Resource Management, 2022 Mirror Ball Winner
● Dr. Alli Wimberly McCall, Pratt Physical Therapy, 2022 Judges’ Award Winner

2023 Dancing with The ARK’s Stars Host:
● Rob Fowler, Storm Team 2’s Chief Meteorologist
Photo Credit: Braeden Kershner and Josh Stemman, sponsored by REALTOR® Roni Haskell.

Based in Summerville, The ARK is a local nonsectarian nonprofit outreach program providing hope and relief to families living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia (ADRD). Support services include social respite care, early memory loss programs, support groups, education, caregiver consultations, resource referrals, and community development. The ARK services five counties: Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, and Orangeburg. For more information, call 843-471-1360, visit thearkofsc.org, or follow The ARK on social @thearkofsc.

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