Stars from both the skating and dance worlds came out to support Kristi Yamaguchi’s third annual fund-raising event “Dancing the Night Away.”
The sold-out event, which was held in San Francisco on June 18, raised $300,000 for Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, whose mission is to inspire and embrace the hopes and dreams of children.
Four hundred people enjoyed a VIP reception, followed by dinner, a live auction and a dancing spectacular. “I love the reception before the dinner because I have a chance to see and visit with the guests. I also enjoy the show with all the dancers and watching how amazing they all are,” Yamaguchi said.
“We decided to do one more year of the ‘Dancing the Night Away’ theme. We did it the previous two years and received a lot of positive feedback. ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is still such a big hit that we thought it would be fun to bring our donors and sponsors that experience once again.”
Yamaguchi delighted guests when she took to the dance floor with Jonathan Roberts. “I have always loved to dance and learning on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ was such a fun challenge,” said Yamaguchi, 40. “My husband and I don’t take any lessons but we keep saying, ‘sometime let’s learn the west coast swing or something.’”
Evan Lysacek was reunited with his “Dancing With the Stars” partner Anna Trebunskaya. The duo performed a new routine during the show. “I have always admired Kristi’s philanthropic efforts and am very happy to support the Always Dream Foundation,” Lysacek said. “I want to start my own charity foundation someday.”
Some of the other skating stars who came out to support the fund-raiser included Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano and Jozef Sabovcík. Also in attendance was Edyta Sliwinska and Karina Smirnoff from “Dancing With the Stars” and former football great, Keena Turner.
Yamaguchi said working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation inspired her to start her own charitable organization. “I realized that there was a lot to do out there and wanted to have an outlet for myself to contribute,” she said. “Also, it’s the children that inspire me. I want to give as many as possible the chance to reach out and achieve their dreams like I got to.
“We are turning our focus to education, technology and early child-hood literacy. We are partnering with some very wonderful organizations in that area, including Bring Me A Book, Raising A Reader, and also de- veloping a program of our own to target early readers in underserved communities.”
A portion of the money raised from this year’s event was donated to the Japanese relief efforts for the earthquake and tsunami victims in that nation.
Originally published in October 2011