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Stars of Newcastle set to shine for Cancer Council again

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Lauren Kempe has just one piece of advice for the latest batch of participants preparing to “cut a rug” in the Stars of Newcastle extravaganza next year.

And, that is, “get competitive with the fundraising”.

Cancer Council Hunter Central Coast (CC HCC) unveiled the new squad of local personalities this week, who will put their talent to the test on the dance floor at the Civic Theatre on Friday 2 June.

NBN News presenter Lauren Kempe, who took part in Stars of Newcastle last year.

Stepping into the fray in 2023 are Paulo Leota (Boss Man Magic Motivation Fitness Wallsend), musician Komiti Levai, Adam Leacy (Commercial Collective), Chris Dickson (Robson Civil Projects), Josh Lawlor (Scrubba Body), Nicole Minter (SOQUAL), author Katie Ford, Sarah Hovanyecz (Osborn Law), Ali Cooke (Ala Mode Events + The Label), Lily Benson (Benson and Co Barbers Newcastle) and high school maths teacher Sandy Kinloch.

Ms Kempe, who took part in the 2022 edition, was more than happy to offer some words of wisdom to the most recent members of the Stars of Newcastle “family”.

“Just make sure you try and reach out to every person you can in terms of the fundraising,” the NBN News presenter/journalist said.

“One of the best things that I loved about my time with Stars was everyone being so competitive… but for the right reasons.

“Obviously, the event is about raising money for people with cancer and those who are suffering or going through a diagnosis and attempting to cope with that.

“The dancing is a lot of fun; however, it all comes back to that reason why you’re doing it.

“Get competitive with the fundraising is what I’d advise because it’s going to drive up the overall amount for the Cancer Council.”

Ms Kempe herself raised $23,000, following in the footsteps of fellow NBN News newsreader Natasha Beyersdorf ($30,000) and Lisa Margan ($60,000) in previous years.

“All up, we amassed $160,000 in 2022, which was a fantastic total,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“When you think about that money going to local cancer patients – and, more importantly, local people – it can make such a difference in their life.

“Whether it’s with support services or obtaining transport to and from appointments, for example.

“But, overall, my experience was great.

“I drew salsa as my genre, however what made it so much fun was the school (Dance on Newy), which helped me.

“Luisa brought up a bunch of her students, too.

“They were so encouraging and supportive, telling me ‘you can do it’ and teaching me to be confident on stage.

“That made me remember – and appreciate – why I was doing it in the first place.”

With one-in-two Australians diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, the money raised from Stars of Newcastle will go towards the Cancer Council and its world-class research, prevention programs, advocacy and support services to help those affected by the insidious disease at every point in their journey.

So, the eight-to-10 weeks the business and community leaders spend with their respective teachers in the lead-up to the glittering finale will certainly be worth it.

“I think they’ll be a good bunch,” CC HCC community relations coordinator Danielle Foster said.

“Each year, I try and attract a unique mix for the event.

“It’s something I pride myself on; people from different industries, have a connection [to cancer] and know what we do.

“The participants all have a story, a common theme, which ties them together.

“And, when they understand the cause, I believe the dancing element sort of drifts away a little bit.

“Then, when they get on stage, it’s that moment that makes it so special.

“They know they’re doing it to support people in the Hunter region.”

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