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. 10 gala, in addition to soliciting contributions + votes prior to the event.
MEET SARAH WENGEL
(partnered with Samy Rash of Fred Astaire Studio dancing
the Cha Cha to “Trouble” by Izzy Azalea/Jennifer Hudson)
After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Sarah moved to Washington, D.C., to work for a prominent law firm as a policy paralegal. She researched for the 2000 Bush Presidential Campaign and worked as a professional fundraiser. Sarah, the daughter of Gov. Asa and Susan Hutchinson, never lost her love for Arkansas and eventually moved back. Sarah, married to Dave Wengel with two children, volunteers for multiple causes including the 20th Century Club and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. She looks forward to closing out a memorable year with Dancing with Our Stars. She says she is grateful to be a part of such a wonderful event and to help the Children’s Tumor Foundation raise money for NF patients.
Each Star brings a unique set of gifts and talents to the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing with Our Stars event, says Lesley Oslica, president of the local chapter. “Sarah is certainly gifted in her beauty, poise and outgoing personality,” she says. “She claims she is better suited for runway than the dance floor; however, we are confident that her dance instructor, Samy, will get her ready for her dancing debut and that she will be just as beautiful and graceful dancing as she is on the runway. We are grateful for her participation in this year’s event. She will always be a champion in the eyes of those affected by NF.”
Inviting Arkansas: Why do you choose to live and volunteer in Central Arkansas?
Sarah Wengel: I love Little Rock. My husband and I moved here with our two children ten years ago and have been blessed with so many friends and opportunities to make a positive difference in the community.
IA: Type of dance you’ve always wanted to learn?
SW: I think I’d be happy if I could do any type of dance well!
IA: Dance claim to fame?
SW: Well, it’s really more of a claim to shame than a claim to fame. I took my first (and only) dance lesson 15 years ago with my future husband ahead of our wedding. Despite paying for multiple lessons in advance, we were asked not to return by the head instructor because we were so bad and took up too much of the instructor’s time.
IA: Why did you agree to be a Dancing with Our Stars contestant?
SW: It’s all about supporting the great work of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. It is a privilege to participate.
IA: What do you most look forward to about the evening?
SW: Seeing how much money we can raise for this great cause.
IA: What are you nervous about?