Cancer Survivor Inspires Local Dance Company to Give Back

Portland, OR (June 13, 2012)—“I’m not ready to die,” this was the first thought that came to Connie Craw’s mind last January when the doctor first used “the C word”, diagnosing her with stage one breast cancer. Though the cancer was detected early, her shock and panic was very real. “I couldn’t believe it; I was working so hard to improve my health. My husband and I were taking dance classes; I had lost 25 pounds; I was doing everything right.” In that moment, Connie realized she had two choices—she could let the fear take over her life or she could face the fear and overcome it.

18 months later, Connie is finished with treatment and is now cancer free! “Getting through treatment was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I had no energy; couldn’t focus, and most days I struggled just to find hope.” That hope was found through dance. Despite her diagnosis and the physical limitations of treatment, Connie and her husband Duane continued their ballroom dance training with Floorplay Dance. “She never gave up. Even when she didn’t have the energy to dance she would still come to watch and learn the patterns,” says Jen Miller, owner and instructor of Floorplay Dance. “I watched Connie go from feeling exhausted and helpless to strong and determined to do whatever it took to become a better dancer.”

Nearly 18 months after her diagnosis Connie and Duane Craw
perform a romantic waltz in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary.
Congratulations to the happy couple! Here’s to a blessed 30 more.

This determination is what inspired Jen Miller to utilize her skills as a dance instructor and demonstrate the healing power of dance while helping those in our community living with cancer. Dance for Life is a 5-week beginning ballroom dance series that will introduce students with little to no dance experience to two unique styles of dance–Rumba and East Coast Swing.

Taught by Jen Miller, a 13-year professional who has been teaching all forms of partner dance for more than a decade, 20% of all proceeds from Dance for Life will benefit the Patricia A. Parr Cancer Treatment Fund of Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation. This fund offers emergency financial assistance for patients as they undergo cancer treatment. “I wanted to use what I know [dance] to help others, like Connie, find hope, healing, and better health through dance. No matter what their condition, I want people to realize that dancing is attainable. In fact it is easier than most people think, all they have to do is try,” Jen states.

Sundays in July from 4:00-5:00 pm, Floorplay Dance is looking to fill the dance floor of Paradise Ballroom (826 SE Belmont St. in Portland) and save lives. $50 covers the entire 5-week series, 20% of which will be donated to the Patricia A. Parr Cancer Treatment Fund. Please contact Jen Miller of Floorplay Dance at or 503-755-0200.

To learn more about Floorplay Dance, instructor Jen Miller, or the Dance for Life Ballroom Benefit Series please visit For additional information on Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation and the Patricia A. Parr Cancer Treatment Fund, call 503-216-6626 or visit www.providencefoundations.or/psvmc.


Craw Communications