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Cancer awareness event to feature art, dancing, acting
Cancer survivor Dixie Woolford leads the Survivors March at the 2008 Cancer Awareness Event at Emanuel Medical Plaza. - photo by Journal file photo

Education will be the focus of Emanuel Cancer Center’s Women’s Cancer Awareness Event, and art will be the medium for that message. 

“The Art of Life,” scheduled for Oct. 12, will feature celebrity dancing and sketch performances along with a local art contest to raise awareness for breast, cervical, and other cancers that impact women’s lives.

Nicole Johnson, an author and sketch performer, will headline the event. Johnson’s book “Fresh Brewed Life” gives hope for the daily grind. She will perform her sketch “Stepping into the Ring” and deliver a motivational speech.

“’Stepping into the Ring’ is a powerful look at a woman’s battle with breast cancer,” said Debbie Tuttle, breast health navigator at Emanuel Cancer Center.

Melissa Sandvig, a Southern California ballerina who recently appeared on “So You Think You Can Dance,” will perform a dance about breast cancer named “This Woman’s Work,” which was also performed on the television show and brought judges to tears.

“We have a headliner every year, sometimes it’s a celebrity entertainer and sometimes a clinical expert,” said Pennie Rorex, spokeswoman for Emanuel Medical Center.

Along with the performances, Emanuel Cancer Center will announce the winner of their art contest at The Art of Life event. The contest is open to any two dimensional art that promotes cancer awareness for women, especially breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers. Entries will be accepted until Sept. 24, and Rorex said there have already been about a dozen entries. Interested artists can read contest rules and download an entry form at

Rorex was on the original planning committee for Emanuel’s women’s cancer awareness event. She said that it has been wonderful to see the event continue and grow for the last 13 years.

“One of the most powerful parts of this annual event is the survivor procession,” Rorex said.

The survivor’s march is open to anyone who has survived cancer for any length of time, even one day. Usually the survivors march in to recorded music, but this year they will be heralded by a live gospel choir.

“Community members came together and made up this choir just for this event,” Rorex said.

The Art of Life is a free community event, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Attendees and members of the survivors’ march can reserve tickets by e-mailing their name, mailing address and number of tickets to, or by calling Emanuel Cancer Center at 664-2434. Tickets are also available by text messaging “TICKETS” to 88788.