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Betina Driver, local stars dance for Red Cross

Brooke Hafs, News Writer
February 13, 2013
Filed under News

Nine star dancers are set to perform for “Dancing with Our Stars,” a fundraising event put on by the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin.

The performance will take place at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Feb. 23.

Notable community members were selected to commit to four months of training to learn two dances.

They have also spent time raising money for the Red Cross. The dancer who raises the most money wins the Mirror Ball fundraising trophy. $1 equals one vote. All the donations stay locally in Northeast Wisconsin.

The dancing ability of the stars does matter. There is a peoples’ choice award, which is decided by the audience, and a judge’s choice award given out for each dance.

“Each star brings their own level of importance to the table, but from a celebrity standpoint, Betina Driver is one of the dancers from a headlining perspective,” said Shawn Kiser, the special events coordinator for the Red Cross.

Betina’s husband, Donald Driver, will accompany her on the dance floor as her pro dancer.

Donald Driver took home his own Mirror Ball Trophy when he won season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

“We watched Driver on TV last year,” Kiser said. “We knew we had to find a way to get him in our event.”

The event has sold out every year so far, but having the Drivers as part of the event has increased the publicity.

“The only problem with the Drivers is we don’t have enough seats because we could probably fill Lambeau Field if we wanted to,” Kiser said.

Seeing Donald Driver dance is something that could entice any Packers fan.

“People want the opportunity to see Donald in that realm,” Kiser said.

With the Drivers as part of the show, Kiser fully expects donations to double last years total of $150,000. The star dancers are a large part of bringing in big donations.

Matt Smith, anchor and reporter from WBAY, was part of last year’s show.

“It was a lot of time, and it took a lot of work,” Smith said. “It is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”

When he was first approached about participating, Smith said he was hesitant to perform in front of hundreds of people. He had no previous dance experience.

“I actually learned a lot,” Smith said. “It’s amazing how technical it is and how much you need to know. It may appear easy, but it’s actually very difficult. I gained a new respect for everyone on Dancing with the Stars.”

Smith said he thinks the Drivers will make people want to contribute even more to the event.

Dancing with Our Stars helps support many programs through the Red Cross. In Northeast Wisconsin, donations help support disaster relief from fires and floods.  It also maintains the disabilities programs that aids those 60 and over with transportation help. Money goes toward assisting service veterans as well.

“I think the event brings a lot of awareness to what the Red Cross does,” Smith said. “Plus it’s a fun night for everyone.”

Hillary Sosinski, UWGB junior public relations, organizational communication major, thinks the event sounds like lots of fun too.

“The best part will be seeing Driver dance, considering he’s already a winner.” She says an event like this, “Allows him to stay connected and loyal to his fans.”

Although tickets are sold out, Sosinski says she’d still donate.

“Being a college student, I obviously can’t give much,” Sosinski said. “But the American Red Cross is a foundation I support, so I’d probably make a donation.”

It’s no doubt the event helps the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin fund its programs for the year.

‘I think it’s a fantastic cause,” Sosinski said. “It helps many different areas at once, which is great.”