Lymphoma survivor dances with oncologist to raise money for the cause

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A lymphoma survivor who was an award-winning ballroom dancer partnered with his oncologist, who also danced professionally, to raise money for the cause. (KABC)

Steve Valentine is hot to Fox Trot, and the public relations expert is an expert dancer.

"She promised me that we would dance and that's what we're doing," Valentine said.

He won a gold medal in a ballroom dancing competition when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He spent more than a year fighting for his life.

"Then I met my oncologist, who also happened to be a former professional competitive ballroom dancer," Valentine said.

A most unlikely coincidence, but their common love became a big motivation to get better. After surgery, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, Valentine looked forward to dancing with his doc.

For oncologist Irene May-ling Hutchins, it was a challenge after medical school, residency and a fellowship.

"I actually haven't performed in front of an audience for about 12 years before Steve and I started dancing together," she said.

Their dancing debut was at the National Cancer Survivor Day last year. They got so much positive feedback, they decided to take their two-step a bit further.

"We have aligned with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and we're raising funds for them," Valentine said.

Hutchins feels it's money well spent.

"In 2017 alone, there have been 18 new FDA approvals for blood cancers, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has helped make progress in about 16 out of those 18," she said.

This dream team will spend the summer hitting the dance floor at various events to fundraise. Their upcoming March performance is Los Angeles, called Dancers vs Cancer.

The Dancers vs Cancer event will showcase the duo March 29 at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

The tickets are $40. All proceeds go to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
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