"Skate for Hope" - Fundraiser for Worthwhile Cause

The “Skate for Hope ” gala, which took place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on June 19, raised more than $60,000 for breast cancer research.

The not-for-profit organization donates all proceeds from the show each year to Ohio State’s Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and Solove Research Institute, and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer in Fort Wayne, Ind.

This year’s cast starred Johnny Weir, Rachael Flatt, Emily Hughes, Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, and Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin. The show also included 100 skaters from central Ohio who earned a spot in the cast by raising funds for this worthy cause.

“‘Skate for Hope’ is an amazing show,” Hughes said. “I’ve been participating in it for the past six years, and the experience just keeps getting better each year. It is much more than a skating show for me since my mother is a breast cancer survivor.”

Since its founding in 2004, the annual event has raised more than $293,000 for breast cancer research.

“It is one of the most amazing productions because of the intense passion that is the driving force behind the show,” Flatt said. “It is always an honor to skate for such a wonderful cause.”

“Skate for Hope” president Carolyn Bongirno is a lifelong and current adult skater. She founded the event after her own successful battle with stage three breast cancer at age 33.

Coughlin and Yankowskas were excited to be part of the cast. “Performing in the show was even more electrifying than our fellow headliners had hyped it up to be,” Coughlin said. “The chance to get together with close friends and create an evening of fun and entertainment is always a fantastic escape from the daily grind of training. But this event has so much extra meaning because our efforts directly support this wonderful cause.

“You can’t help but take up the fight against breast cancer personally once you meet Carolyn and see the passion she has for this show and the research it supports. I see now why so many headliners return year after year for this special night. I look forward to lacing up again next year and seeing what tricks Carolyn has up her sleeve to make the show bigger and better than ever.”

Weir said it was an honor to be involved in the event. “It is amazing to be able to use my sport for such an important issue,” he said. “It is an incredible privilege to know that I am helping in the search for a cure to a disease that affects so many women.”

To learn more about this foundation go to

Originally published in December 2010