DANCE BENEFIT: Dozens of people put on their dancing shoes to help an Ankeny man battling cancer.

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The Encore Dance Academy in Ankeny held a “Zumbathon” Friday night to raise money for the father of one its dancers who is fighting cancer. At $15.00 a head, organizers hoped the donation dollars would add up fast, but at the end of the night they couldn't believe how much money came in.

Sisters Dani and Kenzie Hannan say it’s been tough since their dad Jerry was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December of 2011.

“They`ve learned a lot in life that most kids don`t have to yet,” said their mother, Jenny Hannan.

Jerry Hannan, the girls’ father, says the toughest part for him so far was “telling my wife and kids I had cancer.”

Friday night, the girls’ dance studio put on a Zumba benefit for the family.

“I feel like all of our dancers at Encore are one big family. When anything happens to your family you are of course going to step up,” said Evie McPherson, the owner of Encore in Ankeny, “So the way I can provide for the family is by putting on a benefit here at the studio.”

Kenzie and Dani say the benefit is a welcomed distraction, and the best part was that their father could attend with them.

“I want to be with my dad as much as possible and having this distraction with him being able to be here is pretty nice,” said Kenzie.

The money it brought in is just an added bonus.

“When it first happened and reality started hitting, he went from going week to week with a paycheck to having no paycheck at all,” said Jenny.

With all the financial help from friends, family and even strangers they've been able to cover both living and medical expenses.

“We’re used to being on the other side of it though. We’re used to helping out and that’s the hard thing for me. That’s the hard thing for me. To be able to take the help when it’s offered,” said Jerry.

“It’s just overwhelming. I’m speechless at moments,” said Jenny.

There was also a silent auction with more than 100 items donated from people and businesses in the community. The benefit raised more than $9,000. Thrivent Financial added $5,000 dollars to that, making the total for the night around $14,000.

You can follow Jerry and his family on their care page. Click here to go to the main page and sign in. Then search for “jerryhannan”.


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