Dance studio rallies around 13-year-old’s cancer fight

By Hailey Chapman Hays Daily News

Cancer got the wrong dancer.

That’s the message Styles Dance Center has rallied around in support of 13-year-old Camdyn Darrah, who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Camdyn is in seventh grade at Hays Middle School and started dancing at SDC at the age of three, under the guidance of her dance teacher Alyssa Dechant.

A skilled and versatile student, Camdyn performs ballet, jazz, lyric, modern, contemporary and musical theater with her company.

Camdyn was recently able to work with an LA choreographer to perform a jazz piece, Dechant shared that she really shone.

“She’s always been a beautiful dancer – stunning lines and so strong. She’s powerful and always pushed herself to grow. It’s always a pleasure to teach and coach someone like Camdyn,” Dechant said. .

With the news of Camdyn’s diagnosis, Dechant and the SDC family went above and beyond to show their love and support in his fight.

Although she cannot dance, her family of dancers continues to be by her side.

“While we are all grappling with this discovery, Camdyn’s diagnosis has brought our family even closer to dance,” Dechant said. “As a team we are stronger to fight all adversity together, she is not alone in this fight. Camdyn should know that we are always by her side to be supported and needed.

Camdyn underwent treatment at Children’s Mercy following her diagnosis while attending school online.

“She’s been incredibly positive and strong. She’s in good spirits and not scared as she went through treatment and coped with her diagnosis,” mother Jenna Rome said.

Rome currently works at Wilson Elementary as a kindergarten aide while teaching ballet with SDC. Camdyn’s sister Caelyn also dances at SDC and is a student at Wilson.

“Our lives are very different from what they used to be. Now that we have started the treatment plan, things should slow down and we can hopefully get some normalcy back,” Rome explained.

Dechant helped organize the benefit show to support Camdyn and her family as their lives went through immense change.

Along with the benefit show, Dechant helped organize fundraisers and collect donations for the family.

John and Lisa Flynn, owners of Gone Logo, worked with Dechant to organize a T-shirt and wristband fundraiser that was shared with Styles as well as other dance studios and the Hays community.

The benefit performance will be held February 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center located on the campus of Fort Hays State University.

Along with SDC’s competition society, Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, Hays High School and Middle School Cheerleading are also supporting with performances that night.

All proceeds will go towards the family’s medical and travel expenses.

The show will include a raffle as well as a free giveaway, doors will open at 5 p.m. Anyone unable to attend can show their support through donations which can be submitted to Alyssa using the code @Alyssa-Dechant 3604.

“I think Hays is an amazing community that has already come together to help so much – positive energy, thoughts and prayers are always welcome!”

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