Dancing for Dennis

Annual fundraiser honors the memory of Southside resident Dennis Trackwell while raising money for cancer research

Dennis is featured as the centerpiece. *Submitted photos

Dennis Trackwell loved to dance, and was especially good at the jitterbug.

After he passed away, his daughter, Devon Scott, posted a message on Facebook, stating, “whatever you’re doing today, put on your favorite song and just dance. If someone asks what you’re doing, say you are dancing for Dennis.”

People began posting photos and videos. Thus, the idea for a fundraiser was born.

The fourth annual Dancing for Dennis will take place Aug. 12, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Primo Banquet Hall & Conference Center, 2615 National Ave., Indianapolis. The event benefits Miles for Myeloma for myeloma research at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. Tickets are $30 for adults which includes food and drinks, $15 for kids under 21, free for 6 and under. Tables are $200 and seat eight.

“When my dad died, it was almost therapeutic for me,” Devon said. “I had to do something. This is what I was supposed to do. I wanted to do something to keep his memory alive. My dad loved to dance be surrounded by family and friends and just have a good time.”

Dennis was a resident of the Southside of Indianapolis. He served in the Air Force and retired from Eli Lilly after 40 years. He and his wife, Dorothy, had four children, who all attended Roncalli High School.

Dennis was diagnosed with myeloma, a blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow, in December 2006. He received a stem cell transplant which put him into remission for three years. The myeloma returned and he passed away Aug. 1, 2013.

“For the longest time we were still in mourning,” Devon said. “It took me awhile to realize that isn’t how he’d want us to spend our life.”

The first Dancing for Dennis event was held August 2014. The event typically includes dinner, grab bags, silent auction and, of course, dancing.

“The message about everything is live your life and be happy,” Devon said. “That’s how he would do it. I know he’s got to be beaming with pride. He would always tell us to put ourselves out there and do stuff we wouldn’t know or be comfortable doing. He’d say, ‘you never know until you try.’ I had never done a fundraiser before. I think he would be very happy that we’re spreading the love.”

In the first three years combined, the family was able to donate $25,000 to Miles for Myeloma. IU School of Medicine has created a video, youtu.be/Dq-k4r7JXyU, to explain the fundraiser.

This year’s event includes dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Dinner first – then dancing. New this year, they will add a kids room and digital bidding. Those who aren’t at the event can still bid at qtego.net/qlink/milesformyeloma.

“I am hoping this will help other people, help find a cure down the road and help other families with financial difficulties,” Devon said. “The crowd of people, it just keeps growing. People are actually excited and look forward to it. It makes me feel like we’re doing something right. They want to keep coming back. What gets me choked up the most is seeing people dancing and having fun.”

For more information, visit dancingfordennis.weebly.com.