Photo courtesy Amy Carper, Carper Creative Photography
Each year, community leaders wear their dancing shoes for the coveted winning title that is earned at the Dancing with Our Stars Gala. All this fun and friendly competition benefits the Children’s Tumor Foundation and supports the Arkansas chapter’s research and mission: to end and find a cure for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth in the nervous system, causing tumors to form on nerve tissue.
CTF also provides support for children and families affected by NF. A portion of gala proceeds is donated for grants to send Arkansas teens to the International NF Camp.
We’re putting each star in the spotlight and introducing them on our blog. They will compete at the Sept. 5 gala, in addition to soliciting contributions + votes prior to the event.
Chanda Chacón – Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Chanda and her instructor, Michael Vasquez are dancing a salsa routine to the music La Gozadera by Gente de Zona and Marc Anthony.
Q: Why did you agree to be a Dancing with Our Stars contestant?
A: My passion is helping patients and families when they go through the difficult journey of caring for a sick child. I can think of no better way to create action around this than to raise money and awareness to support an organization that is helping families on this journey with neurofibromatosis. Also, I work at Arkansas Children’s and with the only clinic in the state dedicated to patients with this condition, we are helping change the story for care and outcomes and that make me proud to participate.
Q: What is something that has surprised during preparation for the big event?
A: How easy my dance partner Michael makes the steps look and how challenging it is when I try! It has been fun talking up this great organization and seeing the smiles on everyone’s face when I tell them what the 6 ‘stars’ signed up to do!
Chanda Chacón is not an American dancer, actress and singer. She is not a two-time professional champion of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Unfortunately, she has never been nominated for a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy. She would, however, welcome the chance to play Sandy in a television production of Grease as long as she got to wear a costume!
Much of what kept Chanda from achieving the social accolades associated with the above is listed below. She is a passionate wife, an intense daughter, a loyal colleague, a fearless leader and a lifelong champion for children. Her passion lies in her more than 13 children that are defined by choice and love versus biology through her work as a court appointed child advocate and her tireless work as a leader in child healthcare. She has been a champion for children in child protective custody as a former court appointed child advocate and as a board member of Little Rock Angels, a non-profit group supporting foster families. She zealously advocates for the best experience and healthcare for children and their families because she and her family needed that type of advocate when she was a child in the healthcare system.
She graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in Biology and Spanish and from Yale University with a Master’s Degree in Public Health Management. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Chanda began her career in healthcare with Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where for over 17 years she excelled in progressive leadership roles including ambulatory operations, pharmacy, Heart Center, an innovative Fetal Center, and Women’s Services. Chanda was the President of the Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus the first community hospital in the Texas Children’s system that doubled in size during her tenure.
Chanda joined Arkansas Children’s as Executive Vice President and system Chief Operating Officer in October 2016 and has never looked back! She’s part of a dynamic team who is changing the face of healthcare for kids in the state of Arkansas. She may be pint sized but like dynamite, making a big impact is right up her alley! She has accountability for system leadership and operations of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale, and the clinics across the state.
Don’t let the petite Polly Pocket frame fool you – she’s got a Rocky Balboa competition spirit and is ready for her first premier performance on stage! Chanda hopes you’ll join her in her quest to deliver a 1-2 punch to neurofibromatosis by making a voting donation gift to the Children’s Tumor Foundation today. See you at the show!
VOTE FOR CHANDA: https://join.ctf.org/chandachacon