WATCH: North coast dance group sends message of self-love and raises £40k for charity
A group of north coast women have raised more than £40,000 for charity while spreading a powerful message of self-love and acceptance to women everywhere.
Emma Louise McMullan (33) from Coleraine formed Dance to Enhance while she was undergoing chemotherapy to treat breast cancer.
The group’s Love Yourself video that launched on their Facebook page on October 23 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month has already had more than 10,000 views.
Shot on Whiterocks beach on the north coast, the women, who range in age from 18-59, perform a moving routine to Colbie Caillat’s song ‘Try’.
Emma, a dance teacher and mum to eight-year-old Pippa, said: “The campaign came about as I was going through chemo. My body was changing so much with it, that putting together a dance about loving yourself was my way of coping.
“When you are diagnosed with cancer and undergo treatment, it not only impacts your physical wellbeing but it can really knock your confidence, particularly as a woman. There is so much pressure put on women and young girls to look perfect and be perfect.
“The Dance to Enhance girls agreed that loving yourself was a message that all women could do with hearing, and we decided to strip everything back and be vulnerable in front of the camera, to show everyone you are enough as you are.
“We shot the video at Whiterocks and it was such a fantastic, positive experience. We’re really proud of how it turned out and hope that it helps other women to feel more confident in themselves.”
Julie Virtue, 37, from Portrush, said she was hugely proud to be involved in the campaign.
“As a mum of two young girls, this message really resonated with me. They are growing up in a world where there is a lot of pressure to do everything and look perfect while doing it,” said Julie.
“This campaign encourages women to take note of their own self-worth. Knowing we are enough as we are; made up or natural, messy hair, fancy hair - or without hair; comfy clothes, dressed to the nines; young or old, curvy or slim; you are you and that is enough.
“I think all women could do with hearing that message more and we hope that by spreading the ‘Love Yourself’ message it will empower more women to celebrate who they are.”
Emma has dedicated the video to the staff at Laurel House at Antrim Area Hospital.
She said: “The staff there are amazing. They support so many women every day who are going through treatment, always encouraging and motivating you to keep going.
“So far we have raised £40,000 and have donated the money to a number of different charities including sarcoma cancer charity, Just Keep Swimming Ya-Ya which supports childhood cancer, and the Community Rescue Service.”
The group is also raising funds for Aaliyah Cochrane, a 13-year-old girl from Ballymoney, who has cerebral palsy, to help her family with medical bills. Her aunt Zoe Dobbin is a member of Dance to Enhance.
“We are planning a big fundraising event next September and will be staging our very own cabaret show at the Magherabuoy Hotel in Portrush, with proceeds going to Aaliyah’s family to help with her care, as well as local breast cancer charities,” said Emma.
You can watch the Dance to Enhance video on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Dance-To-Enhance or on YouTube.
They also have a Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Dance-To-Enhance-Coleraine