Dancers Give Back to the Community

October 25, 2013 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM EDT

By Desiree Wiley
By Rachel Elzufon

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October 25, 2013 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKB) - Ali Dietz and Jacquie Hirsch were best friends, but leukemia would cut their friendship short.

Hirsch was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia several years into her friendship.

Dietz wanted to help. She asked her mother, who owns a dance studio, for support.

"She came to me and said that, we always fundraise for our kids to attend competition. She thought if we can fundraise to attend competition why can't we fundraise for a better cause," Mary Alice Dietz explains.

That was the start of the Dancers Give Back benefit, six years ago. But Hirsch passed away just before the first event. The money would have been used to off-set her medical expenses.

"Then it grew into a research project, helping with patient support and helping out with the Jacquie Hirsch for A.L.L Foundation," remembers Ali Dietz.

Dietz teamed up with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute on a mission to cure leukemia. To date, they have raised more than $120-thousand.

Over the weekend, more than 40 studios will take part in the Dancers Give Back benefit. Dance classes will be taught Friday night at the University at Buffalo from 6:00-9:00.

On Saturday, workshops and performances begin at 2:00 pm at Cheektowaga High School.