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Suneelís Light Foundation announces dancing with the stars inspired charity event

The Suneelís Light Foundation, a local non-profit foundation with the sole mission of raising funds for research that will lead to the cure of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), while increasing public awareness of the genetic disease, is proud to announce the first ever, Suneelís Celebrity Gala. The inaugural ďDancing With the StarsĒ inspired event will be held from 6 p.m. until midnight on Feb. 1, at the beautifully renovated Statler City and will feature eight well-known local celebrities from across Western New York showcasing their dancing prowess. Tickets for Suneelís Celebrity Gala are $175 per person or $325 a couple and are currently on sale.

Suneelís Light Foundation has challenged eight local celebrities to learn ballroom dance from professionals of Western New Yorkís top dance studios and to strut their best dance moves in a competition on Feb. 1. Maryalice Demler, WGRZ-TV Channel 2 anchor; Diana Fairbanks, WIVB-TV Channel 4 anchor; Donna Fernandes, president and CEO, Buffalo Zoo; Joel Giambra, former Erie County executive and managing director of Park Strategies; Dave Jickster, radio personality on 97 Rock FM; Stephanie Mateczun, Director of the Buffalo Jills and part-time host of AM Buffalo on WKBW-TV; Aaron Mentkowski, WKBW-TV Channel 7 meteorologist; and Kevin Sylvester, Buffalo Sabresí broadcaster have all accepted the challenge and are currently training as they vie for the coveted title of, ďSuneelís Celebrity Gala ChampionĒ and bragging rights around WNY.

Each celebrity is teamed up with one of the local participating dance schools, Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and Iacono Ballroom Center, along with a professional dancer from the school, which all have donated their services to teach their designated competitor a specific discipline of ballroom dance. Each celebrity will go through weekly dance and choreography lessons with their dancing professional. The final competition of Suneelís Celebrity Gala will be judged by a combination of audience votes, online votes, and professional judges who will adhere to international dance scoring guidelines.

In efforts to engage the community, Suneelís Light Foundation has launched a new event specific website,, featuring videos of all the stars receiving dancing lesions and chronicling their progress. Visitors to the website are encouraged to vote for their favorite celebrities leading up until the night of the gala. Each vote is $1, which allows all of WNY and beyond to support their favorite celebrity, while bringing Suneelís Light Foundation one step closer to finding a cure for DMD.

The black-tie affair will not only consist of fabulous dancing and some friendly competition, but will include a gourmet sit-down dinner, top-shelf open bar and first class auction items, including unique travel destinations, exquisite jewelry and one-of-a-kind items.

In addition to the main celebrity dance competition and gala, various ballroom dance workshops will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Statler City at discounted rates for anyone who wants to take a lesson or two. The Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and Iacono Ballroom Center will be teaching Latin, Swing and Tango with all proceeds being donated to Suneelís Light Foundation. All specific lesson times and pricing can be found at

Tickets for the gala and workshops are available on-line at

For more information, email, call 716-856-9704 or visit

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