Special Dance for Nashville Strides 2016

American Cancer Society hosts the one of largest Breast Cancer Fund Raising Drives in major cities across America every October, Making Strides against Breast Cancer. Ever since I was diagnosed in 2007, I have been advocating for people to get involved. Debbie Thomas has been leading the charge of Strides in Nashville for several years. My involvement has encompassed several areas. Debbie has given me opportunities to bring some new ideas to the event also. This year I am thrilled to introduce participants of Making Strides Nashville to a special performance on Oct. 22nd as a way of saying thank you for all the donations you have raised and to inspire others.

Several years ago I met Justin Jenkins. He use to dance with Southern Movement, a dance
Justin & Taylor Jenkins of Diamond Academy of Dance
crew that had competed on MTV’s hit show America’s Best Dance Crew,  produced by Randy Jackson of America Idol fame. Justin was raised in Memphis and went to MTSU for college. He toured with the group Southern Comfort and eventually landed up staying in Nashville and finding a home here.

Justin could not leave his incredible skill sets behind and innate talent thus began teaching in dance studios. He finally started teaching at what he learned was one of the top dancing studios in Nashville, Diamond Studio of Dance in Mt. Juliet. Its standard of excellence was most definitely only improved with Justin on staff teaching hip-hop.    

The owner, Taylor Corlew has built a life devoted to dance, from a young age, winning many awards for all styles of dance and getting certified as a teacher in Chicago.  Taylor has been
Mr. & Mrs. Justin Jenkins
touched by cancer in her own family. The two of them, Justin and Taylor recently married this past May!  Their entire staff is committed to their students, young and old.  Emphasis is the importance of good health, which is not just exercise but a strong mental attitude. The studio embraces prevention of disease and stress by being positive with their students and encouraging them in all their live pursuits.  Their values emphasized are the same that the American Cancer Society knows decreases not only cancer but all illnesses. 

Justin is a natural fit for working with Making Strides. He is compassionate, enjoys working for a cause that affects so many others, and feels strongly about healthy lifestyles.  Justin has said realizing large numbers of women of all ages are getting diagnosed with breast cancer is even more concerning since he works with so many females at the studio. Last year he and his close friend from Southern Movement, Kemmian Beard of Bearded Productions, choreographed and produced a Dance Flash Mob downtown at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville.  This performance brought local dancers and the Titan cheerleaders together with local media to highlight our event and the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness.

This year, Justin is coming back to raise the roof the day of the event on center stage!  To show the importance his studio and he personally has towards decreasing cancer risks by exercising to maintain a good healthy lifestyle, he will be performing with two very special young ladies and members of Diamond Dance Studio’s Dance Team. 

Amira Domenique Doss (14 yrs) and Morgan Elyce Doss (12) are both hearing impaired
teens, raised by their single mother Regina Smith-Doss, a speech pathologist at Rutherford Schools.  The girls attend Rocksprings Middle School. These girls have been intimately touched by breast cancer, having an aunt and a grandmother that are survivors. We need young people to stand up and take notice of this issue and get involved.

Amira and Morgan dance, as they did last year in the Flash Mob, but this year with Justin Jenks, their teacher and mentor on stage. They will again be joined on stage to give a show-stopping performance. The purpose of this dance it to celebrate Making Strides for all in the field of Breast Cancer and to encourage others to care. These girls are kind-hearted, bright and great students. They could do many things with their talent but are committed also to wanting to step up and show their grandmother this cause matters to them and her life is a blessing in theirs. Their dance is also a lesson to show, yes, even those with challenges facing adversity can persevere with faith and accomplish their dreams. You can make it through a breast cancer diagnosis just like these girls can learn to dance without perfect hearing!

Regina Smith-Doss
Regina, the girls’ mother has been having her daughters’ dance and compete for Diamond Academy for several years now.  She is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to breast
Amira, Regina (Mom) & Morgan
cancer progress.  She also has two sons she has raised that have added so much to her life!  Regina has a profound faith and believes we all are called to do what we can to help each other and so shining a light on this event, to her, is a chance to pay it forward for the lives in her family that have been saved. She also was chosen this year to attend Lobby Day at TN State Government to help promote cancer-friendly legislation with American Cancer Society employees and other delegates asked through-out the state.  She recently volunteered to participate for Look Good Feel Better program for the American Cancer Society.

Cancer can be scary and all who have faced it will say it knocks you initially off your feet. But with major hurdles in our life, taking on an attitude like Amira and Morgan, we can survive and, we can do more.

Justin’s choreography is upbeat and entertaining, it is about a celebration of life!  This dance is proof we can all dance, we can all dance during our lifetime, and we just have to have the
Justin Jenkins & Morgan 
will. All of his dancers celebrate not just dancing but joy of being together, of helping others in this cause and being a part of something bigger than just the dance.  Justin believes that coming together is about building his students up so that they are better people, so that they learn to build others up. Making Strides believes this is the nature of Nashville also; we support each other and we come together.  We are stronger people, and we can beat this nasty disease breast cancer eventually. Each year, Making Strides Nashville’s donations go up and participant numbers go up.
I hope you all will contemplate the meaning of this dance and not just the quality of their dancing when you attend. We can overcome if we donate, volunteer and walk this year. And definitely, plan on supporting these three as they hit the stage. Make noise for all the other students that perform as well knowing that are equally excited to be a part of this event! Show the love for a young man with amazing talent who freely shares it simply because he wants the future of his students brighter and is devoted to a cause that matters, strides in breast cancer. 

The girls & their Grandmother (Breast Cancer Survivor)
If you wish to support Regina Smith-Doss & her daughters & team this year  please Click
here PINKED. and search on her name. Use this same link to sign up to walk or start your own team!  #igotpinked

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Missing Woman

It was all I had hoped for
or maybe not
But it was a reunion.
of sorts.
I had waited years to meet her
and so it was
I found myself looking at what was someone I should know well
and yet felt like a stranger of sorts.

Time had not treated her well
or maybe it had.
She had led a rigorous life
of sorts
Hard partying catches up with us all
And being with a slew of Mr. Wrongs
in the hopes of finding a Mr. Right
or maybe just in the hope of new excitement
possibly around the corner
but never quite finding it lasting
no matter who or where she was.

And so here I stood
watching, looking and wanting
To see what I wanted needed and craved for years
Some semblance of what I had dreamt up in my mind
but somehow knew not to be true
But we girls have our dreams
even when we ourselves grow old.

What stood in front of me was an older woman
who may one day remind me of myself.
But for now it was a faint memory
of something I had wanted to hold dear, tightly to me
but was always more than a phone call away.


Fate Is Under-Estimated

We all face hurdles in life. It is part of the growing process at all stages of development. The difficult part is understanding how to process these issues. Deciphering which ones you can affect directly and which ones you can’t is one of the keys to creating harmony in your life.

I remember taking a class in college called Adult Development. I was somewhat miffed to learn, after going through all the stages of development as a child that now,  I was entering  adulthood,  I had  all these new phases of changes to face.  Hadn’t I gone through enough growing pains already?  Does this adjustment period never cease?

 I think in our youth we think at one point in our life we will hit the stage where we have somewhat mastered life! As we age, we learn that plateau does not exist. What’s more, it should not exist for if it did, one of the best parts of life would be gone, learning and growing.

Facing issues most of us that like to be in control want to fix things immediately. Creating solutions comes naturally to Type A personalities, it is innate, part of their chemistry. The lucky Type B’s seem to have it easier in my mind, they can roll with it. My type tends to obsess, look at problems from every angle, make lists of ideas, bounce it off of others, research the problem and then circle back around.

The reality is we need to always, when confronted with problems step back.  The types of issues I am referring to tend to involve emotions. Recognize, with issues you are facing, if they are truly under your control. In these cases, it is really worth your efforts?

I have come to find out, from seeing friends die of cancer, too much time in our lifetime is wasted. We do not spend enough time rejoicing in the beauty of life.  Those issues, when they pop up, ask yourself, can you send the request up to God and move on?  If you can’t control it and tomorrow is not promised should you perhaps let it go?  Sometimes life’s problems don’t get solved. And then, fate will intervene, and when it does, the situation is taken completely out of your hands. Do not try to force your will, give fate a chance.