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Dancing for a Cure: How One Woman’s Cancer Journey Inspired Her to Pursue Her Passion While Supporting a Cause She Believes In

“Having a life-threatening disease caused me to reevaluate just about everything in my life. Being cancer-free and so grateful to be healthy and doing what I love, I wanted to give back to the Abramson Cancer Center for the care that I received.” —Carol Fee, breast cancer survivor

Life can change in an instant, and sometimes it takes a traumatic event for people to truly understand what they are most passionate about. For Carol Fee, that event came in September 2013 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At the time of Carol’s diagnosis, she was working as a full-time paralegal and took Zumba classes whenever she could for exercise and fun. But when she was faced with a life-threatening disease, she started to think about what was most important to her. Dancing had been a life-long passion of Carol’s, having started dance lessons at the age of three. After completing chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to treat her breast cancer—and 60 years after that first dance lesson—she decided to become a certified Zumba instructor.

middle aged female breast cancer survivor Carol Fee shows off her dance moves at Zumba.
Carol Fee

Carol was treated by Amy S. Clark, MD, MSCE, and was so thankful for the quality of care that she received at the Abramson Cancer Center that in addition to dancing she knew she wanted to pay it forward. “Being cancer free for three years and so grateful to be healthy, dancing and teaching Zumba, I wanted to give back so that others could experience the incredible care that I received at the Abramson Cancer Center,” Carol shared.

Last year, Carol hosted her first ever Zumbathon to raise money for breast cancer research at the Abramson Cancer Center, and on October 14th she will host her second annual event at John R. Rockwell Gymnasium on Penn’s campus. Carol hopes that the Philadelphia community will dance with her to beat breast cancer.

The Abramson Cancer Center is grateful to have community partners like Carol, who come together in the face of adversity to support each other as well as cancer research and initiatives—giving hope to patients and families around the globe. The ACC also extends a special thank you to the John R. Rockwell Gymnasium for hosting this upcoming event.

To learn more about giving back to breast cancer research or for more information, contact Kelly Baldwin Heid at or (215) 746-9799.

About this Blog

The Penn Medicine Giving blog highlights and promotes philanthropic contributions to Penn Medicine and the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

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