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2017 Dancing Stars of Atlanta, GA


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If you count scuffing up my mother’s kitchen floor with my Sunday shoes, I have been a dancer since I was four. I have been active almost all my life and found my niche in cross country and track & field. I ran competitively from 6" grade through college and earned letters in the 1500 meters and cross country as well as helped set a school record in the 4 by 1-mile relay at Auburn University. Injuries and surgeries have put my running career on hiatus, but as I am intolerable to anyone without some sort of physical activity, walking/hiking, Pilates, and ballroom dancing have rendered me safe and relatively socially acceptable.

For reasons deemed perfectly understandable and necessary by many of my friends I married an Atlanta psychiatrist named Mark C. Hutto in 2001 and set out on a life filled with love, laughs, and adventurer. This has resulted in many amazing memories and some palpitations. I have helped him raise his two fantastic children Abbie and William, to whom I consider myself a mom in all the ways that matter. This has resulted in many amazing memories and some palpitations. My husband and I share a love for good health and good food and enjoy sharing both with our friends, all of whom would probably agree that I am, in their words: “A true prodigy of 80’s music trivia”, "A baker extraordinaire", ”The single most worst influence to go shopping with”, “A party planner like no other”, the most loyal, thoughtful, and considerate friend on the planet”, ’the one person I know will support and celebrate whatever I do, as long as it isn’t criminal".

As I move into the second half century of my life and all the milestones that will include, from colonoscopies to shingles vaccines, I feel a responsibility to my granddaughter in all the ways that matter to show her the value of a life filled with joy, friendship, good health, good food, and most of all, love.

My love of life, laughter, and food can all be traced back to my family. I have a rather large extended family on my mother’s side (10 brothers and sisters), and every Thanksgiving is our family reunion. A bigger group of cutups, smart alecks, possible scofflaws, and loving people you have never seen. In the middle of this chaotic group of clowns for many years were my Aunt Deane and Uncle Howard Griffin. Deane Griffin was like a beautiful ball of light full of love, always dressed to the nines, and even though she might have 50 to 60 people in her house on that day, she could make each and every person feel like he or she was the one person she had been waiting to see. She was beautiful, creative, joyous, mischievous, loving, and Alzheimer’s took all of that and her away over the course of eight painful years until her death in 2009. Her sense of style was taken away until she could no longer care for herself. The holiday she loved most became a frightening experience for her to the point that she would suddenly bolt from the house and her children had to run after her and bring her home. She left behind not only a husband and children who adored her, but also many many friends and family who still feel like Thanksgiving isn’t quite the same without her.

I like to think that with her love of art and fashion my Aunt Deane would get a kick out of me dancing as a “Dancing Star”, and I hope I do her proud.

Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

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