By Marianne Mueller


LOVES PARK – Each year a benefit performance of Ripple FX helps a worthy cause directly involving children to support. During a second year fundraiser GiGi’s Playhouse of Rockford was the recipient of a true gift from the heart.

Meghan LaMarca of Director of Ripple FX announced each act and gave a background of reasons behind the day’s event. One hundred-thirty talented dancers from different dance teams performed a variety of routines in the Harlem High School auditorium.

Twenty-five acts featured ensembles, and memorable solo dances routines. The opening act was one to remember for a lifetime as a GiGi’s Playhouse’s very own Cheer Gems rocked the stage in a high energy number under the direction of Whitney Martin. Smiles were abundant as dancers hit all the right moves with precision timing!

Dancers hailed from Dance FX, J&J Dance, Southwest Synergy School of Dance, Steps to Grace Academy, Turning Pointe Dance Company, and Winnebago High School Dance who teamed up in support of GiGi’s Playhouse. Evolve Dance Company and Studio 11 Dance Company reached out giving generous donations to help further the mission behind GiGi’s Playhouse.

GiGi’s Playhouse in Rockford is one of 29 locations who serve over 25,000 families. The words ‘Educate, Inspire and Believe’ open doors to Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. GiGi’s offers free programs that are therapeutic and educational in nature for infants through adults. GiGi’s mission is to inspire and to empower all induvial who live with Down syndrome to succeed in life. GiGi’s Playhouse is funded through private donations, grants and sponsorships.

Genes carry chromosomes where typically the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes of which half is inherited from each parent. Down syndrome is caused by a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.  Statics show that one in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome, and of those approximately 6,000 babies are born with it each year. Characteristics may include low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.

During an intermission supporters had an opportunity to bid on nice silent auction items. Money that was raised from ticket sales to the event, the silent auction and donations

totaled close to $4,000.
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Marianne Mueller photos

Kaylie Schuller was among performers at the Ripple FX Down Syndrome benefit.

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