Pap Corps members to get 'footloose' at first signature fundraising event for cancer research

Jennifer Shapiro-Sacks Special correspondent

Her love of dance and passion for finding a cure for cancer is why recent cancer survivor Sheila Calandrillo is competing in the Pap Corps, Champions of Cancer Research’s first signature event, Footloose and Cancer Free, a dance competition featuring 14 couples from Palm Beach County Pap Corps chapters.

The event at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 10 at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek raises money for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

 “My goal is to bring in as much money as I can and to win the mirror ball for bringing in as much money as I can for cancer research, and to win for being the best dancer,” Calandrillo said.

The dancers can win during the live event for being the best dancers as well as for raising the most money online by having people vote for them as many times as they want for a minimum of $5 per vote.

The Pap Corps, Champions for Cancer Research is one of the largest all-volunteer fundraising organizations in South Florida. There are 52 chapters and over 20,000 members in the tri-county area who are dedicated to supporting research for all types of cancer at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Since the organization started 67 years ago, it has given over $100 million to Sylvester.

Pap Corps chapters participating include Addison Reserve, Gleneagles, Valencia Palms and Villaggio Reserve in Delray Beach; Boca Friends, Boca Pointe, Boca Woods and The Polo Club in Boca Raton; Bellaggio, Valencia Shores and Villaggio west of Lake Worth; Wycliffe Golf and Country Club near Wellington; and Valencia Pointe and Valencia Reserve in Boynton Beach.

Although there is no monetary goal set, Beverly Berkowitz, vice president of the Pap Corps, Champions for Cancer Research, said funds raised are “another dollar toward the cure.”

Another goal of Footloose and Cancer Free is to bring people in Pap Corps together, Berkowitz said.

“We want to bring husbands, mates, friends and members in one room to enjoy this together. We’re putting the fun in fundraising,” she said.

The couples have been practicing their dances for about two months now with professional dancers Kris and Amanda Whitney from the Delray Ballroom.

“It’s been an eye-opening and heartwarming process to see what they’ve overcome. They have deep stories related to cancer and surviving. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work,” Amanda Whitney said.


“We’ve fallen in love with a lot of these couples and their stories and are grateful for the chance to work with them,” Kris Whitney said.

One of the dancers, Esther Peretz, of the Valencia Palms Chapter, said she decided to dance because she thought it would be a “phenomenal opportunity” for a fundraiser and she loves dancing.