Dee Evans, a clinical pharmacist in Burlingon, helped raise more than $250,000 at a gala for Little Pink Houses of Hope this earlier month. But six years ago, she went through a crisis of her own: Evans was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis. Proper blood flow did not reach her legs and she was faced with two options: amputate both legs or have them reconstructed and live in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
“It was a pretty simple decision for me,” said Evans.
Little Pink Houses is an organization that sends breast cancer patients and their families on retreats and vacations — free of charge. The organization held a gala earlier this month that Dee was invited to dance at and raise money for.
“I was a dancer for 13 years before I lost my legs, so I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to dance again.” Evans said.
She was given the opportunity to snowboard, wakeboard and even climb mountains after her amputation — but dancing again presented a new obstacle she was ready to tackle.
"It was an amazing experience," Evans said. "We raised a lot of money for a great cause.”
Dancers for the gala were competing to raise the most money for their team. Evans had a whole community come together to help support her efforts, hosting bake sales, lemonade stands and even a girls' night out with ticket sales that all went toward her fundraising.
Though Evans had a different experience, she said giving other people hope is important to her.
“I didn’t have breast cancer — I had something very different — but you automatically connect," Evans said. "I think the other thing that you realize is, if you have that shimmer of hope, that that’s all you really need.”
Evans and her partner, professional dancer D’Lil, began practicing in May.
"D’Lil and I got most entertaining. So that was not associated with the money-raising, but that warmed my heart because that’s how I feel like I got something out of it,” Evans said.
The gala was something she said she will never forget.
“Hopefully, it showed people what adversity you go through," she said. "You have a way you can get back.”
For more information on Little Pink Houses, visit their website: https://www.littlepink.org/