Photography by 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.
Children’s Tumor Foundation also provides support for children and families affected by NF. A portion of gala proceeds will support the Adult NF Clinic Pilot Program. We’re putting each star in the spotlight and introducing them on our blog. They will compete at the Sept. 9 gala, in addition to soliciting contributions + votes prior to the event.
Penny Burkhalter – mom, cancer survivor and community advocate
Dancing with Matt Boyce
Penny Burkhalter was raised in Cabot with her five siblings. After high school, she attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She and her husband John have been active volunteers in Central Arkansas for numerous charitable organizations.
One particular cause that strikes a personal chord with Penny is cancer research, prevention, and care.
At the age of 32, Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer while three months pregnant with her second child. As a 19-year survivor, Penny continues the fight by being a strong advocate and mentor for those fighting cancer. Her enthusiasm and energy have led to leadership roles in many of the area’s top fundraising events.
Penny currently sits on the Board of Advisors for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and is the Spokesperson for Gwatney Buick GMC in North Little Rock.
Penny and John have been blessed with two beautiful daughters Johnna Kay and Anna Grace. Penny is extremely excited and honored to be a part of this year’s Dancing With Our Stars in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “I grew up dancing and thought it would be fun to break out the ole tap shoes again.”
In her own words…
Why did you chose to participate as a Star in the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing with Our Stars event?
I am so honored that I was asked to be a Dancing with Our Stars contestant. I knew that it not only would be a fun challenge but also an opportunity to help raise funds and awareness for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.
What is something that has surprised you in preparation for the big event?
I am surprised by all the wonderful support I have received from my family and friends. They are very excited to see me perform.
Biggest performance fear?
My biggest performance fear would have to be forgetting the whole routine.