Skate for Hope: Bowling Green native Alissa Czisny leads lineup for May 2 fundraiserWritten by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally created to help children cope with a friend or family member’s cancer diagnosis, Skate for Hope has a history of drawing some of the biggest names in skating.
The event will glide into the Bowling Green State University Ice Arena on May 2.
Alissa Czisny, 27 — two-time U.S. national champion and Bowling Green native — will appear in the show, returning for her first public performance in Northwest Ohio since 2005.
“It’s a pretty high-profile event,” said Czisny, who now lives in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and trains at the Detroit Skating Club. “It means a lot to contribute to this cause.”
Admittedly not at 100 percent following a 2013 hip injury, Czisny retired from competition last summer and soon began performing in skating shows across America and around the world, including China and Brazil.
However, she hasn’t completely ruled out another Olympic run for 2018, when the games will take place in South Korea.
Czisny is one of several notable skaters who will appear at the single-performance show. Others include Emily Hughes, 2006 Olympian; Jeremy Abbott, four-time U.S. national champion and 2014 Olympian; Alexe Gilles, Elsa from Disney on Ice’s “Frozen”; Dan Hollander, world professional champion; and Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, U.S. national pairs champions.
Skate for Hope was founded by Ohio native and lifelong skater Carolyn Bongirno, who battled and overcame a stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 33.
“Children are terrified at carrying the emotional strain of a cancer diagnosis, and dealing with the fear and unknown,” Bongirno said. “I never imagined in a million years raising $543,000 in 11 years.”
During its history, Skate for Hope has attracted major skating headliners such as Bowling Green native Scott Hamilton, Sarah Hughes, Johnny Weir, Tatiana Totmianina, Max Marinin, Rachael Flatt and Ashley Wagner — all of whom donated their time and talent, Bongirno said.
“When your intention is to do for others, others do for you,” Bongirno said.
The show will also feature 95 amateur skaters from Northwest Ohio who earned spots in the event through local fundraising.
Cora Egbert, 9, of Gibsonburg, is a member of the Bowling Green Skating Club, and has raised more than $1,800 since November by walking door to door and asking local businesses and residents to contribute to the cause.
During the show, she’ll also enjoy a special moment when a family friend will be publicly honored with an event medal.
Although her parents now live in California, coming back to Bowling Green is special for Czisny, who said she “more or less grew up in the [BGSU] Ice Arena,” along with her fraternal twin, Amber.
“For a club this small, in a town this small, I think it’s pretty telling to what this rink can hold,” said Czisny, who is known for her elegant and graceful skating style.
Tickets are $11 and $19, and are available online and at all Ticketmaster locations, as well as the Stroh Center box office at BGSU and at the door.
Proceeds from Skate for Hope go toward multiple cancer research and support service organizations, including the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative.
For more information, visit www.skateforhope.org.