2017 Gala Dancers

The 2017 DWOS Dance Competitors are community members who, for one night leave it all on the dance floor as they compete for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.  Having rehearsed and been teamed with professional choreographers from Arthur Murray Dance Studios they are dancing as cancer survivors or in honour of those affected by cancer. Be Brave and Believe thanks you for your bravery and your commitment to our cause.

Celine Howard

Richard Velastegui

Richard Velastegui

I met Christine when she was a bright, energetic 10 year old.  Her energy stayed with you long after she left your company.  She was my Go-To person when I went through my cancer experience.  Her encouragement and support helped me in treatment and she is here with me as I practice and perform this dance routine.  Last year I promised you I would dance.  Christine, this is for you.

Celine will be partnered by Richard Velastegui, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Oakville.


Mike Pagani

Karolina Kruk

Karolina Kruk

I am excited to have been asked to be part of Dancing with Our Scars. I am a proud dad of 2 extraordinary kids Madelyn and Emma as well the lucky husband of over 20 years to my beautiful wife Mariella. They have encouraged and inspired me to let my guard down and enjoy the experience.  In my spare time I enjoy playing soccer, golf and riding my motorcycle.  Professionally, I am the Regional Pre-Planning Manager for the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries; an organization that I’m truly proud to be a part of.

A big thank-you to all my family, friends and colleagues who are coming to support me and this amazing cause, much love to you all. To my family members and friends who are courageously fighting this horrible disease and to my cousin Antonietta who sadly lost her battle this past year, this one is for you!

Partnered by Karolina Kruk, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Oakville.


Anthony Turco

Kaitland Schertzberg

Kaitland Schertzberg

3 years ago Christine and her team approached me with her idea of having an event called Dancing With Our Scars here at LeDome. They had a near impossible budget, however after a lengthy meeting, a few tears and some amaretto, we found a way and Dancing With Our Scars was born. From the get go they pleaded with me to be a contestant and dance in the event. For two years I explained that I am not a dancer and would likely hurt myself, my partner or some innocent spectator-I’m a terrible dancer.

At last year’s Gala I submitted to Christine and publicly agreed to dance in this year’s event. Last September Dancing With Our Scars, family, friends and the world lost an incredible human being who I looked up to in Christine but I know she will be smiling from above when me and my partner take the floor at this year’s Dancing With Our Scars April 28, 2017 at Le Dome Banquet hall. For anyone who would like to witness me give new meaning to two left feet, tickets are on sale now at Le Dome Banquet hall.  Wish me luck!!

Partnered by Kaitland Schertzberg, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Oakville.


Mariela Burkett

My name is Mariela Burkett, mother of 2 and a cancer survivor.  I am a personal trainer, coach, instructor & boxer. I am inspired to participate to help promote awareness that life doesn’t end at a diagnosis, in fact, that’s when it begins.

Partnered by Carlos “Ole” Olavide,  Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Mississauga.


Miriam Schwabe

Matthew Gartshore

Matthew Gartshore

I was a competitive gymnast at Futures Gymnastics growing up and I cheered for the University of Guelph Gryphon cheerleading team throughout my undergrad. These days I spend my time training and competing in the sport of Powerlifting! I currently coach, both gymnastics and cheerleading, at the very places that helped mold me into the woman that I am today. It was at Futures Gymnastics about ten years ago where I met Christine Coussee as I was coaching her daughter, Lillie. At the Dancing with our Scars event last year I told Christine I would perform in her gala next year…Therefore, I am here following through on my promise.

Partnered by Matthew Gartshore, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Mississauga.
Matthew teaches, trains and competes in dance. He was born in Brampton but spent most of his life growing up in the Maritimes.


Our 2016 Winners: Anne De Stephanis and Edgars Brivks

Edgars Brivks

Edgars Brivks was born in Europe and started dancing competitively at the tender age of six. He quickly became recognized in the local competitions as a young talent with a keen sense for musicality and from then on, everything else fell smoothly into place. He became the Latvian Vice-Champion in Latin American dancing and made all the finals of the top European competitions in his age category.

After moving to Canada eight years ago, he partnered up with a dynamic dancer and they became Canadian Latin Vice-Champions as well as Champions of the biggest competition in Canada “La Classique Du Quebec.” They won many competitions, making the finals of numerous prestigious competitions in North America.

Edgars currently lives in Richmond Hill and works at Dance Masters dance studio where he is a professional dance instructor to children and adults. Now, his main focus is to pass on knowledge and his rich experiences to the many students who are pursuing their own competitive and social dance careers.

Anne De Stephanis

Anne may not be a professional dancer however she does hold the title of Winner of the 2016 Dancing With Our Scars Mirror Ball Trophy. Anne is returning this year as our spotlight dancer for one last performance and to hand over the trophy to the 2017 winner.

Anne is the Founder and CEO of The Business Plan Centre. The company writes bank/government ready business plans and provides a variety of other business services to businesses in the GTA and throughout Canada. Anne was a provincial and national gymnast growing up, and now teaches Precompetitive Artistic Gymnastics, and Provincial and National Tumbling at Futures.

Purchase Tickets for Dancing With Our Scars - Monday, April 15, 2019