HOPATCONG BOROUGH, NJ - Hopatcong High School opened its gymnasium doors to celebrate the “Second Annual Dance-A-Thon for Dylan!”
Dylan Flinchum is a three-year-old boy from Sussex County who was diagnosed with a condition known as Chiari malformation shortly after his second birthday.
Dylan then had surgery with hopes of making a full recovery, but after several weeks of physical therapy, Dylan showed symptoms that were unrelated to the malformation.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirmed that Dylan is “suffering from a degenerative disease known as metachromatic leukodystrophy, often referred to as MLD.” The disease makes it difficult for Dylan to walk.
The benefit at Hopatcong High School on February 16 was presented by Dream Dance Studio based out of Ledgewood, N.J., where girls from ages three to 19 participated from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., in a dance-a-thon to raise money for Dylan and his family.
At the end of the day, one prize was given to the dancer who raised the most money, and the other to the dancer who lasted the longest.
Kristy D’Amelio, owner of Dream Dance Studio for the past 12 years said, “It’s all about kids and when one gets sick, we help out.”
Pizza was donated by Sal’s in Landing, N.J., and cupcakes were donated by “2 Sweet Cakes.” Refreshments were $1 each, and t-shirts were being sold for $10 each.
A DJ performed music for the girls to rock on to.
“Every penny goes to the Rock On! Foundation,” stated D’Amelio. “All of the girls love Dylan, he is a part of the family now.”
Before a one hour Zumba dance, the girls all posed for a picture while D’Amelio, Dylan’s mother Melissa, and father Michae,l all held Dylan to capture the moment.
The song “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson played in the background while the girls sang “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, work a little harder,” to Dylan.
“We really appreciate it,” said Melissa Flinchum, Dylan’s mother, “All of the girls are great and spent their Saturday here. It’s a fun day.”
“Now that I can feel my feet again, I would like to say once again how proud I am of our selfless, caring and just all around great dancers! I could not be more proud of you and your kind hearts. We had another successful event for Dylan and I love you all very much! Thank you for being you and a big thank you to all of the parents and volunteers as well, love all of you,” D’Amelio posted on the Dream Dance Studio Facebook page the day after the event.
Last year, the event ran from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and raised $13,000 for Dylan and his family. The event ended at 6 p.m. this year because D’Amelio states, “The girls were exhausted by the end of the day.”
Online registration is now open for the “Second Annual Dylan’s Dinosaur Stomp 5K Fun Run and Family Day” on Saturday, May 11 to raise money for MLD.
Information on the upcoming 5K run can be found here
Those interested in donating to the Dylan Flinchum “Rock On!” Foundation can send checks to:
The Dylan Flinchum “Rock On!” Foundation
14 Lenape Drive
Stanhope, NJ 07874
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