Dancers to present ‘Life of Love’ benefit

One-night-only performance to help with Julie Ertl’s cancer expenses

Dancers to present ‘Life of Love’ benefitPictured: “Life of Love” performers Britney Brown, Megan Anderson and Amy Ertl (front to back) perform in a previous benefit for Julie Ertl last September. — Photo by Laura Austin

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

“Life of Love,” a benefit dance performance for Julie Ertl, will take place Thursday, Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m. at the Burroughs High School Performing Arts Center. All proceeds benefit Ertl, who has been battling cancer since 2012.

Ertl has Stage-4 breast cancer that has spread to other parts of her body. She has made some dramatic progress so far in her recovery, but the road to remission continues on and is paved with expenses.

“I wasn’t walking when I went to my doctor in July,” said Ertl, who is now able to drive herself to Orange County for treatments at the Pacific/Orange Coast Medical Center of Hope.

“I would say that the treatment is doing pretty amazing things.”

Ertl’s HER2 count (a gene marker that indicates the presence of breast cancer) has dropped from 1,600 at its peak down to 77 recently.

Despite the success she and others have experienced with their treatments at the medical center, the method is relatively new and isn’t covered under the vast majority of insurance plans.

“The financial need is huge,” said Ertl. “The treatments are about $900 each and I needed them five times a week for six weeks. We’re just trusting God every week that somehow he’s going to provide. But everybody there is getting better. It’s pretty amazing.”

Ertl said she’s now down to two treatments per week and hopes to move to a single weekly treatment soon.

“Ms. Julie is easily seen as an inspiration to all of us,” said Britney Brown, who is helping organize the dance.

Brown has danced at Sierra Academy of Dance for many years, the last three of which she has been working with Ertl learning the Cecchetti method, developing the essential skills of dancing. She also performed in a benefit concert for Ertl in September as a vocalist and dancer.

“All of the routines in the show are choreographed and performed by Sierra Academy of Dance students,” said Brown.

“There are dances about hard times and loss, but they are overcome by the ones with messages of strength, love and friendship – common themes among the dancers at the studio.”

“The dancers wanted to honor Ms. Julie’s victory!” added Cate De Min, the principal instructor at Sierra Academy.

Brown said that Ertl hasn’t stopped helping the dancers and still video calls in to the studio to assist with upcoming dance exams.

“She always goes out of her way to make sure every dancer leaves the class knowing they are better dancers than before, with stronger technique and performing skills,” said Brown.

Ertl says she hopes to be back in the studio, at least teaching from a chair, in January. And the students can’t wait.

“If I’m being completely honest, if she ever starts carrying around a wand, she’ll be mistaken for Cinderella’s fairy godmother,” said Brown.

“She is constantly there for her students when they heed her guidance and always has a contagious, upbeat attitude that puts everyone in the performing spirit.”

Tickets for the performance are $15 and are available at Red Rock Books. See Sierra Academy of Dance’s Facebook page for more information.

To donate to the Cancer Research and Life Foundation, or see more about Ertl’s story, visit www.crlfoundation.org/patient-stories.html.

Story First Published: 2017-12-15