2016 Dancing With the Martin Stars

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition’s Sixth Annual Dancing with the Martin Stars raises more than $167,000 – setting a new fundraising record - to benefit women and newborns in Martin County

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition’s annual Dancing with the Martin Stars has once again charmed audiences, built upon its continued success and reached a new fundraising record. On September 24, nine exceptionally talented and inspiring community stars and their partners entertained a sold out crowd at the Lyric Theatre. This group of brave and dedicated dancers collectively raised more than $167,000 to benefit the pregnant women and newborns in Martin County who are served by Healthy Start, and funds continue to roll in even after the event.

Libby Flippo and her dance partner Bob Murray were the overall winners and received the coveted mirror ball trophy for being the top fundraiser - raising more than $40,000 as well as achieving a score of 28 from the judges for their exceptional version of the Argentine tango that wowed the crowd and impressed the judges.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, this year two dancers broke Dancing with the Martin Stars all time individual fundraising efforts - Libby Flippo and Julia Sansevere.

“Healthy families mean healthy communities. I have witnessed firsthand, in my healthcare career, how powerful knowledge acquisition, coordination of care and access to resources can be. Healthy Start gives mothers and newborns in our community the opportunity to have healthy starts. And that is why raising funds for this organization has been so important to me,” said Libby Flippo, Sr. Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer at Martin Health System. “I am humbled by this experience and still shocked that I was this year’s overall Dancing with the Martin Stars winner. I am grateful to everyone who supported me throughout this process.”

Three of the dance duos received perfect scores from the judges for their performances. The winners included Helen Martin and her partner Travis Stancil for their original contemporary dance,  Shaun Kelly and her partner Craig Galvin for their high energy foxtrot/west coast swing, and Jeff Teach and Holly Perle for their alluring rhumba.

“We are appreciative beyond words to our community stars for dedicating their time and energy to this very important cause - and to our professional dancers, sponsors, and the hundreds of people who came out to support them,” said Scott Berry, Executive Director of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. “As a result of their hard work and perseverance, Healthy Start will be able to underwrite the costs of serving 300 women in our community. That is equivalent to 25 percent of all women giving birth in the coming year.”

All of the funds raised through Dancing with the Martin Stars are directed towards Healthy Start services and programs such as prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab testing, and providing high-risk mothers with the specialized care they need. To date, Dancing with the Martin Stars has raised nearly $630,000 to support this mission.

About the Dancers

Nine Martin County dancers competed with professional dance partners in this year’s Dancing with the Martin Stars. They included: Casey Cass, President of CASCO Tools, Inc. with Marianella Tobar of Marianella’s Dance Fusion, LLC; Libby Flippo, Sr. Vice President & Chief  Nursing Officer at Martin Health System with Bob Murray of Blana Dance - Neuvo Milanga; Shaun Kelly, Owner of Perfectly Legal Office Solutions, LLC with Craig Galvin of Craig’s Dance Studio; Andrea Levy, Owner of Lotus Loft with Travis Scott, Independent Instructor; Helen Martin, President/Owner of Stretch Zone Treasure Coast with Travis Stancil, Independent Instructor; Troy McDonald, City of Stuart Commissioner with Kristin Vennos of The Crystal Ballroom; Julia Sansevere, Realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate with Eliott Acosta of The Treasure Coast Hustle Association; Jeff Teach, President of Teach Wealth Management, Inc. with Holly Perle, Professional Dance Competitor; and Dewey Vinaya, Military Veteran with Faith Mary-Angela, Independent Instructor.

Lead sponsorship support was provided by Martin Health System with other major sponsorships from: David Brudy, Ferreira Construction Co.; Kidz Medical Services; Martin Health Foundation; Matthew Thompson; and Visiting Nurses Association of Florida.

2015 Dancing With the Martin Stars

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition’s Fifth Annual Dancing with the Martin Stars raises more than $140,000 – achieving a new fundraising record -- to benefit women and newborns in Martin County 

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition’s annual Dancing with the Martin Stars has once again wowed audiences, built upon its continued success, piqued the interest of sponsors, and raised a record breaking fundraising goal. On September 12, a sold out crowd at the Lyric Theatre was entertained by eight incredibly talented and inspiring female community stars and their professional male counterparts.  These courageous and dedicated women hit a new fundraising milestone - collectively raising more than $140,000! These funds will benefit the women and newborns in the community served by Healthy Start.  

Stacey Hetherington and dance partner Craig Galvin, were the overall winners and received the coveted mirror ball trophy for being the top fundraiser (raising more than $30,000) as well as achieving a score of 38 from the judges for their outstanding fusion of foxtrot and salsa that captivated the audience and impressed the judges.  

“I was born and raised in Martin County and am engrained in this beautiful community,” said Hetherington. “As the proud mom of my two boys, I understand the needs of mothers and families and was so honored to help the Healthy Start Coalition fulfill its mission by participating in this year’s Dancing with the Martin Stars cast.” 

Two other teams tied for their perfect dance scores of 40: Janine Landolina and her partner David Cook for their high energy rhumba, and Kim Sahyoun and her partner Bob Murray for their seductive dancing of the tango.

The fundraising aspect of the competition was just as exciting.  Stacey Hetherington, the overall winner, brought in a grand total of $31,730. Maria Reich, who received a dance score of 39 for performing a sizzling Latin fusion with partner Travis Stancil, raised the second highest amount of funds. Three of the other dancers also topped the $20,000 mark. 

“We were stunned and grateful beyond description that the funds raised this year will help to underwrite the costs of prenatal care for approximately 140 women. With about 1,200 babies born in Martin County each year, that’s a significant percentage of all the babies born in our community,” said Scott Berry, executive director of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. “We are so grateful to our community dance stars, professional dancers, sponsors, and the hundreds of people who came out to support them.”

One hundred percent of the funds raised through Dancing with the Martin Stars is put towards services and programs offered by the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, such as prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab testing, and providing high-risk mothers with the specialized care they need. To date, Dancing with the Martin Stars has raised more than $470,000 to support this mission. 

Eight Martin County dancers competed with professional dance partners in this year’s Dancing with the Martin Stars. They included: Rose Durbin, Rabbi who now serves as the Director of Youth Education at Temple Judea with Yavet Diaz, Ritz Ballroom Dance Studio; Elizabeth Gaskin, Provost for Indian River State College with Travis Scott, Fred Astaire’s Dance Studio; Janine Landolina, Commercial Real Estate Agent at Florida Commercial Enterprises with David Cook, Ritz Ballroom Dance Studio; Liz McKinley, Society Editor of Stuart Magazine with Kevin Marone from Crystal Ballroom ; Kris O'Hagan, President of O'Hagan Insurance Agency, Inc. and Freelance Writer and Photographer for Luminaries with Dunsleys Valladares, Marienella’s Dance Fusion; Maria Reich, former marketing and public relations executive with Travis Stancil, Ritz Ballroom Dance Studio; Kimberly Sahyoun, CEO and founder of Sign Store and More with Bob Murray, Blana Dance; and Stacey Whitaker-Hetherington, public relations consultant with Craig Galvin, Craig’s Dance Studio.

Sponsors of the event included: Audi Infiniti of Stuart, Ferreira Construction, Martin Health System, Patrick Stracuzzi Real Estate Team, Seacoast National Bank, Stuart Boathouse Restaurant, The Firefly Group and TC Palm. 

2014 Dancing With the Martin Stars

Martin County Healthy Start Coalition's Fourth Annual
Dancing with the Martin Stars
raises over $92,000 to benefit women and newborns in Martin County 


Each year, the bar is raised on some aspect of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition's annual Dancing with the Martin Stars.  This year was no exception.  A sold out crowd at StarStruck Theatre was entertained by six of the most talented dance duos to date.

Collectively they raised over $92,000 - a remarkable fundraising achievement that benefits the women and newborns in the community served by Healthy Start.

Rachel Terlizzi, with her partner Bob Murray, were the overall winners and received the coveted mirror ball trophy for being the top fundraiser (raising more than $25,000) as well as achieving a perfect dance score of 30 from the judges.  They performed a sizzling version of the Argentine Tango.

"I was born and raised in Martin County and the opportunity to give back to mothers and babies in our community is truly and honor," Terlizzi said. " I have two beautiful boys of my own, Bradley and Evan, so being able to help mothers in need is close to my heart."

Two of the event's five all-time top fundraisers were part of this year's event - Terlizzi and Kenan Siegel who raised more than $21,000.

Another trophy was awarded to Tara Zweben and her partner, Travis Scott, for also receiving a perfect dance score of 30 points from the three esteemed judges.

The quality of this year's production set a new standard, with more audience engagement and the addition of a live streaming opportunity for the overflow crowd who could not fit into the main theatre at StarStruck.
"The event raised the equivalent of the cost of prenatal care for 70 women.  With approximately 1,200 babies in total born each year in Martin County, it is quite an achievement for Healthy Start to be able to underwrite the costs of serving that many women," Scott Berry, Executive Director of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. "We are so grateful to our 'community dance starts,' professional dancers, sponsors, and the hundreds of people who came to support them.  Because of their efforts, babies will be born healthy in the coming year."

One hundred percent of the funds raised through Dancing with the Martin Stars is put towards services and program offered by the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition such as prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab testing, and providing high-risk mothers with the specialized care they need.

Six Martin County dancers competed with their professional dance partners in this year's Dancing with the Martin Stars.  They included: Patty, Morris, the district teacher of the year for Martin County School District, with Craig Galvin; Tara Zweben, community outreach coordinator for Zweben Law Group, and Travis Scott; Rachel Terlizzi, coordinator of Community Health Improvement for Martin Health Systems, with Bob Murray; Martin County Sheriff William Snyder with Emily Powers; Kenan Siegel, Lyric Theatre board member and Pine School board member, with Marianela Tobar; "Shipper Pete" Morello, the owner of UPS packing stores, with Thany Lim.

2013 Dancing With the Martin Stars

On Saturday, Sept. 28, a sold out crowd at the historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Stuart was wowed by flashy costumes and fancy footwork as local notables participated in the 3rd annual Dancing with the Martin Stars event hosted by the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. This year’s event nearly tripled the funds raised last year, with a remarkable amount of more than $135,000.

Local “stars” that took the stage this year were: Rosalind Neilen, owner of Rosalind’s Fitness Studios; Leslie Haviland, Associate Director of Student Services at Keiser University; community volunteer Eileen Morris; Wendy Hudson, representing Seacoast National Bank; Ken Norman, shareholder at McCarthy, Summers, Bobko, Wood, Norman, Bass & Melby; Patrick Murray, Extended Day Coordinator for the Martin County School District; Michael Flaugh of Michael Flaugh, Landscape Architect P.L.; and Chad Hastings, attorney with Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith.

Each participant was partnered with a local professional dancer who volunteered their time to teach the choreography and practice with their respective partners.  Dances ranged in style from the samba to the fox trot to the cha cha.

Professional dancers included: Kevin Marone and Kristin Vennos of Rio Crystal Ballroom; Travis Scott, Lukas Klotzsche and Valorie Pari of Fred Astaire Dance Studio; Craig Galvin of Dance Studio; and independent professional dancers Thany Lim and Michelle DeRosa.

Judges for the event were professional dancers Elena Simonova and Joe Wynes, and StarStruck Performing Arts & Theatre founders, Jennifer and Peter Jones.

In addition to working on their dance moves during the last five months, celebrity dancers dedicated much of their time to reaching, and in many cases surpassing their fundraising goals. Many of the star dancers involved this year held a variety of creating fundraising events and parties to gain support from the community and raise funds for the Healthy Start Coalition.

“This year’s event has been extraordinary,” said Scott Berry, executive director of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. “We had an outstanding group of dancers this year who raised the bar in terms of talent and fundraising acumen,” Berry added.

The grand prize winner for the event was Wendy Hudson and her partner, Lukas Klotzsche who received the highest overall score by combining their dance score with the total funds raised by Ms. Hudson.  Wendy and Lukas glided gracefully across the stage during their rendition of the fox trot.  The pair earned a high score of 38 out of 40 and Mrs. Hudson raised nearly $36,000. 

“I am grateful to have had the support of my family, friends and community during my Dancing with the Martin Stars journey,” said Hudson. “It was hard work, but I’m so happy to have been a part of it and raise funds for mothers and newborns who need it most throughout my community.”

Ken Norman and his partner Kristin Vennos mesmerized the judges and crowd with their polished version of the rumba and the pair earned the highest overall dance score of the evening with a 39 out of 40.

One hundred percent of the funds raised through Dancing with the Martin Stars are used to pay for services and programs offered by the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition such as prenatal care, ultrasounds, lab testing and providing high-risk mothers with the specialized care they need.

2012 Dancing With the Martin Stars

In 2012 the 2nd annual Dancing with the Martin Stars event raised more than $45,000 for the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition. The funds raised assisted many mothers and their children pay for services and programs offered by the organization such as lab testing, ultrasounds and other specialized care needs.

After wowing the crowd and judges with flawless footwork during their Argentine Tango, Scripps Newspaper Columnist, Eve Samples, and her partner Bob Murray, were awarded the highest overall dance score of the night. They receive perfect scores from all three judges and their score combined with Samples’ fundraising efforts, resulted in the duo taking home the coveted mirrorball trophy.

Tom Hall, Executive Vice President at Seacoast National Bank, took home a trophy as well for being the highest fundraiser of the evening bringing in more than $16,000. He and his partner, Valorie Pari, impressed the judges by dancing the Swango – a hybrid of the Swing and the Tango – and earned a score of 26. This is the first year that two celebrity dancers were able to raise over $10,000 each. Dr. Ed Lippsich of Lippisch and Engebretsen Oral Surgery and Dental Implants helped raise over $12,000 for the organization.