The lobby at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center transformed into a stage Monday, as the president and CEO, Dr. Thomas Smyth, showed off his dance moves. It's all for a cause that's close to his heart.
"It's to honor my mom, first and foremost," Smyth said.
His mom Patricia is 88 years old and has vascular dementia.
"Over the last 5 to 7 years, she has really struggled with the mind and being able to think and being able to have cognition at a level where we were all used to her functioning," Smyth said. "My mom was one of the smartest people, more accomplished people I know, and an incredible role model. It was difficult."
He is using his dancing skills to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. He has been practicing with dance instructor Catherine Noblitt for a few months, getting ready to perform at the Memory Ball Dancing Stars at the end of April.
"This ball is the largest single event we do and it supports our efforts for caring and supporting services for families who are going through this journey, as well as funding research for treatments and hopefully prevention," executive director or the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Maryland, Cass Naugle, said.
"I believe that the greatest healthcare discovery in the next 50 years would be the one that solves the dementia issue," Smyth said.
This event debuted the dance he will perform as he competes against seven other business leaders in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory Ball Dancing Stars on April 28, 7 p.m. – midnight, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
The Memory Ball Dancing Stars is a fundraiser that will have local business leaders perform a dance routine to raise funds to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association’s supportive services and medical research funding for the disease. This year’s theme is “American Bandstand through the Decades,” requiring dancers to perform to songs from the 1950s to 1980s. Dr. Smyth and his dance partner will dance to The Spinner’s “Rubberband Man.”
"I’m really excited to do it. We put a lot of hard work into it. It’s a lot of fun and it’s fun to perform," Smyth said.
An audience of 800 is expected at the event and attendees can vote throughout the night. Dancers get votes through the donations they receive. Every dollar they raise counts as a vote. The dancer with the most votes will be the winner of the You’re Our Star trophy. A panel of judges will award the Judges’ Choice winner for the best. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh will be among the judges.
Last year’s Memory Ball raised more than $500,000 and Naugle thinks they will top that this year.