By Chris Bavender
A young boy’s efforts to help others – even while battling cancer – is the driving force behind the Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s “Pulse: Pointe to the Cure” October fundraiser.
Joey Keller was 7 years old when he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Keller lost his battle with the disease at the age of 9 in November.
Prior to his death, Keller and his parents started Team Joey to raise awareness and funding for local pediatric cancer research. Team Joey also delivered Legos to children battling cancer in area hospitals so they could forget, if even briefly, the disease they were fighting and have fun.
The Team Joey program gives 50 cents of every dollar raised to pediatric cancer research, with the other 50 cents going toward the purchase and distribution of Legos to children with cancer.
The conservatory also will host a 6 p.m. reception and 7:30 p.m. performance of “Pulse: Dancing to the Beat of our Own Drummer” on Oct. 4 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Pulliam Family Great Hall with proceeds benefiting Team Joey.
The original ballet production was created by the conservatory’s founding artistic director, Alyona Yakovleva-Randall, with additional choreography by Sergey Sergiev.
The evening will include a “Pointe to the Heroes” award ceremony hosted by Tom Zupancis to honor the unsung heroes who battle against cancer in unique ways. There also will be live and silent auctions and a tour of the IMA art galleries.
Guests can continue Joey’s legacy by donating Legos.
Additional performances of “Pulse: Dancing to the Beat of our Own Drummer” are at 2 and 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at the IMA’s Tobias Theater.
Additional fundraiser events:
A restaurant campaign runs Sept. 20 through 27 with many local restaurants committed to providing 10 to 15 percent off a patron’s bill when a new/unopened Lego set is brought in for donation.
The conservatory will be teaming up with Peyton Manning and Riley Children’s Hospitals during September to match pediatric cancer patients with dancers who will dance for the child. Dancers will also pass out Legos.
Legos will be collected at various locations, including the Indiana Ballet Conservatory at 849 W. Carmel Dr.