Tag Archives: Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles

Emotional, uplifting moments shared at Skate for Hope

8 Aug

Participating in the Skate for Hope Rose Dedication Ceremony are Serafina Rees, Lee Harris, Emily Hughes, Natalie Bongirno, Lauren Muffley and Jeremy Abbott. Photo courtesy of Leah Adams

A cast of former and current U.S. champions and Olympians donated their time and talents for the ninth annual Skate for Hope (SFH) show, which benefits breast cancer research and awareness. Since 2004, SFH has raised more than $400,000 for the cause.

This year’s event, held June 16 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, featured performances by Ashley Wagner, Jeremy Abbott, Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker, Adam Rippon, Rachael Flatt, Emily Hughes, Caitlin Yankowskas and Joshua Reagan, Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles, Alexe Gilles, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier and Lee Harris.

About 120 amateur skaters from Central Ohio joined their heroes on the ice for the inspiring evening, which featured beautiful and emotional performances honoring breast cancer survivors who were seated in the front row.

Harris, Hughes and Abbott shared their common experience of their mothers being cancer survivors by participating in the Rose Dedication Ceremony with three of the younger amateur skaters.

“The audience was deeply moved seeing these elite athletes share the ice with three little skaters who have faced the same fears and challenges,” organizer Carolyn Bongirno said. “The show was upbeat and heartfelt throughout.”

For Harris, Hughes and Abbott, the evening proved to be an emotional one for them.

“This year was important for me to skate and dedicate my skating to my mum, alongside Caitlin Yankowskas, who graciously accepted my wishes to skate with me,” Harris said. “Being able to express my love and support for my mum through the gift that both my parents have given me with my skating was something I will never forget.”

Hughes’ mother, Amy, is a breast cancer survivor and an advocate for breast cancer research and awareness.

“This was my eighth year skating in Skate for Hope, and each year the show gets better and even more meaningful,” Hughes said. “It brings together great skating and breast cancer awareness, two things that kindle my passion. I believe everyone left the show that night wanting to contribute more to this cause. I know I did.”

Abbott’s mother, Allison Scott, is a survivor of skin cancer.

“It was a great show,” Abbott said. “It was my first time participating and I think it’s for a great cause. To be able to help support finding a cure was really amazing, and to meet these women and hear their stories was something really special and I’m glad I was part of it.”

SFH is a not for profit 501c3 charitable organization that donates its proceeds to the Stefanie Spielman Fund at the James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute and to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.

SFH will celebrate its 10th anniversary in June 2013, with the goal of crossing the $500,000 milestone. To support Skate for Hope, visit skateforhope.org and to follow all announcements, Please “Like” SFH on Facebook.

Lee Harris and Caitlin Yankowskas offer a heartfelt moment during the show as Harris presents his mom with a yellow rose.
Photo courtesy of Leah Adams


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