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 is donated for grants to send Arkansas teens to 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.
Donnie Van Patter – Owner, Donnie’s Foreign Car
Dancing with Jessica Williams
Born in Little Rock, Donnie owns and operates Donnie’s Foreign Car – an auto service, tire and off-road truck & accessories center.
A graduate of Little Rock Central High School, he attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is a 13-time national and 6-time world champion speed skater. He is also a state champion cyclist, nationally-ranked over the years.
He is passionate about helping others and serves his community in various capacities. His new granddaughter is the light of his life. In his free time, he and his fiancé Dawn Scott enjoy spending time with their children, being on the boat at Lake Ouachita, cycling, snowboarding and traveling. He is thrilled to be part of this year’s Dancing with the Stars in support of the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
In his own words…
Why did you chose to participate as a Star in the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing with Our Stars event?
I never say “no” for charity and fundraising… and I enjoy supporting my community any way that I can. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life and want to make sure I’m giving back to my community and important causes like the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
What is something that has surprised you in preparation for the big event?
The biggest surprise is how difficult dancing is… when I watch dancing, they make it look easy; but now that I’m trying to learn these moves, I know how hard they have to work to dance the way they do. And, I didn’t know my perfectionist tendencies would be so strong in wanting to do my dance moves correctly.
What type of dance have you always wanted to learn?
I don’t know what you call the type of dance I’m doing, but it’s exactly what I’d hope for. My dance instructor makes me work hard and I love it.
What is your dance claim to fame?
This footwork on the floor is all new to me, but I look forward to putting in the hard work and conquering the task at hand.
What is your biggest performance fear?
I’ve never been shy and don’t mind being in front of a crowd, but my biggest performance fear is dropping my dance partner!