Skate For Hope: Making a Difference

2012 Gala - June 16

Susan D. Russell
Sarah Hughes

In the ever evolving skating world, benefit shows come and go.

“Skate for hope,” however, is one with an impressive history that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

Now in its ninth season, this year’s gala will take place June 16 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Stefanie Spielman Fund at the Ohio State University James Cancer Center and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.

Two-time U.S. medalist Emily Hughes has already committed to her eighth consecutive show. Her mother, Amy Hughes, is a breast cancer survivor, and being part of “Skate for hope” is an important annual event for the Hughes family.

Breast cancer survivors sit in the front row, and during the show skaters, from local youngsters to Olympians, present roses to family members who have beaten the disease.

“Last year my sister, Sarah, did the show for the first time,” Emily Hughes said. “I got to introduce her and we both presented the rose to our mom. This show really has a special meaning for me.”

Carolyn Bongirno, the founder of “Skate for hope,” is a breast cancer survivor and adult skater who is passionate about the event and dedicated to its success. While creating a wonderful show is important to her, she is just as motivated by the fund-raising aspect.

“We have raised $370,000 to date,” Bongirno said. “Next year is our tenth year, and I want to reach the half-million mark.”

The goal is certainly within sight. the 2011 show reached a new level of fund-raising, and Bongirno has high hopes for 2012. At press time the cast had not been finalized, but Sarah Hughes has signed on to co-host the 2012 gala event.

At press time confirmed participants included Emily Hughes, the Gilles family and Paul Poirier.

Full details, ticket information and how to make a donation are available on the “Skate for hope” website (

Originally published in April 2012