ST. GEORGE – The thirteen members of Kalamity have dedicated the last four years to doing something they love and doing it for good: A variety of charitable causes in the community.
What is Kalamity?
A youthful and energetic hip hop dance crew, Kalamity is the brainchild of Tia Stokes, founder of The Vault Dance Studio in St. George. Upon moving to Utah from California in 2007, Stokes observed a lack of dance activities for adults in the area and decided to form her own. Interest grew quickly and Kalamity soon had over a dozen members, mostly college-aged men and women.
It was all just a hobby for Stokes until the following year, when one of her dancers, Tiffany Scholl, discovered she had cancer. In support, Stokes began to organize the group’s first-ever public performance, a concert benefiting Scholl and her family. The unfortunate diagnosis also inspired the crew’s name.
“I decided that was what this group was made for: To help people who are going through ‘Kalamities’ in their lives,” Stokes said.
That performance was only the beginning. As Kalamity’s recognition grew, Stokes was approached regularly with requests to support various causes in the community. Over the last four years, the crew has hosted events for, among others, Dylan and Riley Slack, a brother and sister suffering from a rare neurodegenerative disease, Carter Franklin, a Kanab boy with cancer, Abby Doman, a girl suffering from the heart disease cardiomyopathy, Ashley and Chad Baird, a married couple with two different forms of cancer and Jeanette Bracken, a woman with kidney disease currently trying to collect funds for a double transplant. Stokes estimated that Kalamity has raised more than $40,000, every penny of which comes from and benefits families in Southern Utah.
“(We give) the community a chance to be part of something big,” dancer Cambria Horlacher said. “Our supporters get to watch amazing shows and also donate to help change someone’s life.”
The current members of Kalamity are:
|Tia Stokes – Teacher/ChoreographerCambria Horlacher – age 20
Irene AhQuin – age 35
Jamie Brown – age 28
Alexa Ford – age 19
David Short – age 19
Bayden Fullmer – age 19
|Sam Wolsleger – age 23Amber Tirey – age 21
Shaylee Warren – age 19
Samantha Morgan – age 26
Jenn Olsen – age 25
Patrick Boyle – age 19
Though Kalamity’s membership is limited to adult dancers, Stokes has created Kaos, a hip hop group for ages 12 to 18. They also train at The Vault and throughout the year, have the opportunity to perform alongside Kalamity at numerous fundraising events.
“It’s such a neat experience because they get to (participate) at a young age,” Stokes said. “They are learning great life values already.”
The 2012 cause
At the start of each year, the Kalamity dancers select one main cause to focus on above all others. Last December, after finishing the final concert for 2011 beneficiary Bracken, Stokes was on the hunt once again. She received a phone call just days later relaying the story of “Mighty Meg” Haycock, a married mother of two battling the bone cancer chrondosarcoma.
“As a mom myself, it really hit home,” Stokes said. “I knew right then that she was going to be our next cause.”
Meg Haycock, who lives in St. George with her husband Josh and young daughters Lydia and Brooklyn, was diagnosed with chrondosarcoma five years ago. She has undergone multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments in hopes of eliminating the multiple tumors, but with no success. In June 2011, doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City informed her that in order to stop the cancer from spreading, drastic measures would have to be taken: An operation that would remove her right leg and hip, approximately one quarter of her body, and leave her wheelchair-bound for life. Despite suffering from constant pain and limited mobility, she opted against the surgery.
“We have been financially crippled and (emotionally) devastated (by) this whole situation,” Josh Haycock said. “We were at the end of our rope (but) since Kalamity has been involved, we have been given the help needed to get up, dust ourselves off and continue the fight.”
Through their dance performances and other efforts, Kalamity has raised $3,500 for the Haycock family so far, all of which is needed for staggering bills and travel expenses for Meg Haycock’s frequent trips to HCI. And while there is not much that can done for her medically, Stokes said that being able to assist her in other ways matters just as much.
“It would be awesome if we could bring in $10,000 for her but no amount is great enough,” she said. “It’s about support for her family and knowing that she’s not alone. She really doesn’t know how much longer she has (to live) and right now all we can do is pray for a miracle.”
Join the cause
Kalamity will host fundraisers for Meg Haycock in October and November (times and locations yet to be determined) as they prepare for their year-end concerts, which will be held Nov. 31 and Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Desert Hills High School auditorium. Monetary donations are always welcome and can be given online through the Haycock Cancer Fund. But the preferred way to contribute is by catching one of Kalamity’s shows.
“Without support, we are nothing,” dancer Alexa Ford said. “If you support Kalamity, you’re not only helping us but the cause that we are fighting for.”
Meg Haycock said: “Kalamity deserves all the support they can get. They have created something powerful and important. It’s so much more than just dancing.”
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