The Healing Power Of Dance – Dancers Vs. Cancer

Dr. Irene May-Ling Hutchins, Marilyn Fordney Dancers Vs. Cancer Event, Photo by Alex Havasi

As I’ve said many times before, our founder, Marilyn Fordney is an amazing person in what she has seen and done in her life.  She is highly acclaimed for the work she, and she alone accomplished in the medical profession for her insurance handbooks.  She also was a talented pro-am ballroom dancer and won many awards during her career.  When you know a person like Marilyn Fordney (lucky me, I do) you find that the stories and things that happened to her throughout her life are more than stories, they are inspirational and often lead to other equally amazing tales.  An example of this is the extraordinary Fordney Foundation that is dedicated to ballroom dance and a continuous evolution of the love of dance, created by Marilyn Fordney.  I’m sharing with you a story that will mostly be told by Mrs. Fordney, but you will see the connection of how one story turns into more than one compelling, inspirational story!

Dr. May-Ling Hutchins, Waise Hayatullah and Marilyn Fordney, Photo by Alex Havasi

“I met Irene May-Ling Hutchins when she was an amateur dancing in competitions. Her instructor was in San Francisco and he is a judge at many of the competitions that we attend. Eventually, May-Ling became a professional dancer and danced with a professional from Russia. I made friends with her mother, Margaret Hutchins. May-Ling’s father is a pharmacist. While performing as a professional, she finished an event and was traveling on a highway like a freeway and an accident occurred. She was injured with a broken leg. This repaired and she went back to dancing for a short while longer as a professional. One day she contacted her mother and said she was re-enrolling at UC Davis and would complete her schooling to become a doctor. On her graduation day in Sacramento, we drove up to attend the ceremony. She went through intern work and we continued to keep in contact. She decided to specialize as an oncologist and finished her schooling so she could specialize in that area of the medical field. She relocated to La Jolla and began to practice. One day a patient was

Actress Elisabeth Rohm, Steve Valentine, and Dr. May-Ling Hutchens, Photo by Alex Havasi

assigned to her, Steve Valentine. He was very ill with cancer with little hope of recovery. It looked bleak. Dr. Hutchins began to work with Steve. When he was beginning to recover, she discovered that he was a professional ballroom dancer, magician, and actor. She told him that she also had been a professional ballroom dancer and when he recovered she would dance with him. This gave him terrific motivation and he got better and better.

Elisabeth Rohm, Steve Valentine, May-Ling Hutchins, Marilyn Fordney

So they decided to work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help grow funds to fight this terrible disease. On March 29, 2018, we attended the launching and first event to do this mission. It was held at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles. The event was well attended. A silent auction was conducted with donated items. Hors-d’oeuvres were served and attendees obtained cocktails. Steve gave a welcome to everyone and introduced a male singer, Eric Dash, who composed what he sang and played the guitar. At the conclusion of the evening, May-Ling and Steve performed a beautiful ballroom dance for everyone. It was truly a touching scene to see the two professionals dancing–one the physician dancing with her recovered patient!  Even when Steve spoke about this at the microphone, he had tears in his eyes. He said he wouldn’t be here if it was not for May-Ling’s care and concern. But I think

Marilyn Fordney, Dr. May-Ling Hutchins, Photo by Alex Havasi

dance had a lot to do with the motivation to heal and be free from this horrible disease.”  As told by Marilyn Fordney.

Now that you know how Marilyn Fordney met the now, Dr. Hutchins, we would also like to share with you the wonderful time Marilyn Fordney and Alex Havasi had at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Dancers Vs. Cancer event.  Please enjoy these photos that our co-founder, Alex Havasi took at this first, of many more to come, Dancers Vs. Cancer event.  If you would like to know more about this event or make a donation, please go directly to Dr. Hutchins personal fundraising link at

As you can see, this is a wonderful story filled with inspirational twists and turns. It started out with the love of dance and slowly found it’s way back to dance once again.  Dance is truly one of the joys of life!

Dance is healing, dance is thrilling, dance generates life!

Dr. May-Ling Hutchins, Dancers Vs. Cancer Event, Photo by Alex Havasi

Thought Of The Week:

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow   –  Melody Beattie


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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website