MEDFORD, Ore. — ABC’s “The Bachelor” stars Juan Pablo and Nikki Ferrell will be coming to the Rogue Valley on April 26 for a local non-profit fundraiser.
Both will be arriving Friday night, for the Valley Wide Dance Party. The party is being hosted by Tumor Hater, a local non-profit raising money for people with tumors here in Oregon and across the country, and is for high school students only. Eighty percent of the proceeds raised through the dance will go directly to one Rogue Valley girl who is currently suffering from a disease called Neurofibromatosis.
At five years old, Madison Branaugh is dancing around the yard singing her favorite song “Let It Go” from the Disney animated movie Frozen, but just like the song she sings, she too has her own story of strength.
Branaugh was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis when she was just a few months old. The genetic disorder causes tumors to grow from head to toe throughout her body, clinching on to nerves making it where many cannot be removed.
“You live it on a daily basis,” said Karen Branaugh, Madison’s mother. “You don’t really know what’s going to happen… so you just deal with the symptoms as they arrive, and her tumors are continuing to grow.”
Tumor Hater, a local non-profit fighting tumors in the Rogue Valley is stepping in to help the Branaugh family. Its founder, Kelly Matthews, has the same disease.
“Outwardly I look okay, but one of my doctors said he thinks I have over 1,000 tumors easily,” said Matthews.
In order to help Branaugh, Tumor Haters is hosting its very first fundraiser called the Valley Wide Dance Party. The party will not only have food, fun, and music, but it will also feature special guests Juan Pablo and Nikki Ferrell from this season of The Bachelor.
Matthews originally saw film crews filming the Bachelor while on her honeymoon in Florida. She waited and went up and personally met both Juan Pablo and Nikki. A couple months later, Ferrell and Matthews, re-connected on Instagram, and that led to both Bachelor stars coming to the Rogue Valley.
“You know it’s not going to be forever that I can use my publicity to help people in this way, and I want to do it while I can… especially for this, for Tumor Hater, and for Madison,” said Ferrell.
A pediatric nurse herself, Ferrell said she’s passionate about the cause, and as for Branaugh, she can’t wait to dance the night away with some of her favorite reality TV stars.
The Valley Wide Dance Party is only for high school students, a valid school ID is required at the door. The event is being held April 26 from 7-11 p.m. at the Inn at the Commons. There will be a meet and greet before the dance from 4:30 – 6p.m., and that is for people of all ages. Admission is $15.00 for either event.