Zumba Party raises money for cancer

Rabecca Woodruff

Smiling faces, pink and purple colors, and people dancing for a cause. They are fighting against cancer, the Zumba way.

Ilknur Erbas-White, a full-time math professor at Irvine Valley College, is also the team captain for Mission Viejo Activities Committee’s Zumba Party. All proceeds of the Zumba Party go to American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. 
This program started in honor of one of the members of the Zumba Party who died of brain cancer. When Erbas-White started as team captain she did not have cancer but shortly after was diagnosed.
“This was kind of therapeutic because I was doing Zumba Relay for Life and had a bald head” Erbas-White said. Erbas-White survived and depleted the first round of cancer from her body.
Just last year Erbas-White was diagnosed with cancer again and was able to do the same. “This time it was so much easier because I was involved with the whole Zumba community,” Erbas-White said. She is now a two-time cancer survivor. 
The Zumba Party is not just to raise money for Relay for Life, it also creates a community for cancer survivors, people with loved ones with cancer, those currently with cancer, or anyone who wants to get involved.
Gyasi Johnson, a Zumba instructor at Erbas-White’s event said, “The greatest thing I found out about Zumba is the interaction with other people. I probably have met more people doing Zumba than I have through the rest of the course of my life.”
According to The American Cancer Society, in 2013 it is estimated that there will be one and a half million cancer cases diagnosed with 1,600 people expected to die each day. Cancer continues to be the second most common cause of death in the United States, with one in four deaths due to cancer. 
Last year, Erbas-White and her team of volunteers were able to raise around $4,000 at the Zumba Party event. Erbas-White’s Zumba group continues to be one of the highest grossing relay teams in Orange County.
Robert Nichol, 68, a cancer survivor at Ilknur’s Zumba Party said, “Fundraisers like this are really important to bring out awareness and promote and support this cause.”
“It’s not something that can hold you down you have to set your mind to what the next day is and work through it. I think I’m a good example of it.” Robert said about cancer. 
Every second and fourth Saturday of each month, Erbas-White holds the Zumba Party event at Montanoso Recreational Center in Mission Viejo. The event is $8 a person and no membership is needed.
Anyone is welcome to come fight against cancer the Zumba way. 
“We help all cancer survivors,” said Erbas-White
Call Ilknur Erbas-White at (949) 370-7495 or email her at [email protected] for more information.