Salsa for a Cure celebrates ten years!

Over the last decade, Salsa for a Cure has raised more than $35,000 for patient care programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

When you think of salsa, you probably envision upbeat music, energetic dancing and striking colors. Here in Buffalo, community members have found a way to use the vibrancy of salsa to make a difference in the lives of people living with cancer.

Salsa for a Cure, an amateur dance competition, celebrated its 10th anniversary, marking a decade of raising funds for patient care programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Participants gathered on September 15, 2023, at the Agustin “Pucho” Olivencia Community Center for an evening of dance, basket raffles and a visit from Mayor Byron Brown. 

“I figured, if I hosted an event that featured Spanish music, especially for Hispanic Heritage Month, we would get more people to learn and be aware of different cancers,” said Maritza Vega, Salsa for a Cure chairperson.

According to Maritza, one of the primary goals of the event is bringing joy to those undergoing cancer treatment.

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According to Maritza, one of the primary goals of the event is bringing joy to those undergoing cancer treatment.

“Making people happy: It’s a way of wellness,” she explained. “I chose to start Salsa for a Cure because I knew that people, when they came to this event, were going to be happy. They were going to be willing and ready to contribute.”

Dinorah E. Baines agrees. Dinorah is a member of the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, and she currently handles public relations for the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute.

“Come for the music. Come for the drinks. Come for the vibes and the energy,” Dinorah exclaimed during last year’s event.

When asked about the significance of Salsa for a Cure, Dinorah said the amateur dance competition is a great symbol for Hispanic and Latino culture  and the diversity within those communities. “It just shows how this culture can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone … here, everyone is just coming together and appreciating the culture.”

The fundraiser was put on in coordination with the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Agustin “Pucho” Olivencia Community Center, the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade, Fanny Salsa Dance and many more community partners.

To date, Salsa for a Cure has raised more than $35,000 for patient care services at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; however, Maritza believes the event can make an even bigger impact! She hopes to see the fundraiser continue to grow for years to come.

We all have the tools to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. For anyone looking to start their own fundraiser, Maritza offered, “It takes people to come together and make it happen.”

Salsa for a Cure 2023

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