By Danielle Coots
For Greene County News
BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek High School sophomore Bri Ferguson’s life has been a roller coaster ride for her and her family since last July. Now her only focus is helping save the life of her sister through a dancing benefit hosted by Beavercreek Dance Teams 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, April 16 at the Beavercreek Dance Teams Studio, 2973 Lantz Road.
The event is open to children ages 9-18 and all proceeds benefit Anais Alleman, Ferguson’s sister. But, this is just the beginning of their story.
“My husband and I wanted to have children but we weren’t biologically able to have our own. So, we decided to adopt. We began our journey in Vietnam. Within a year, we adopted Bri at 5 months old,” Bri’s mother Robin Ferguson said. “We were told that she was an only child.”
For the past 15 years that’s what they all believed. The Ferguson’s family quickly grew after adopting two more little girls. At 4 months old, they adopted another Vietnamese daughter – now 13 years old, Jaylee and a 4-month-old daughter, now 10 years old – Olivia from Guatemala.
At the time of Bri’s adoption, there were only six or seven other babies in the Vietnam orphanage. Through the European Adoption Consultants Agency in Cleveland, families that adopted from this orphanage stayed in touch with each other as sort of an “adoptive parent support group.”
Robin Ferguson had been in contact with Anais’ family, who live in Louisiana, since the adoption of Bri. Last July, Anais and her family were going to be in Columbus meeting up with another Vietnamese adoptive family and invited the Ferguson’s to dinner. The meeting went well and Bri and Anais were instant best friends. But, what they didn’t know was that their bond would be something of a closer nature in the months to come.
“Two weeks before Christmas, Anais was diagnosed with AML – a form of Leukemia. Her mother called me and said that our adoption coordinator strongly suggested that we have Bri tested to see if she could be a bone marrow donor for Anais,” Robin said. “Bri was not a match. However, the doctor suspected that there was a relationship between the two of them. He didn’t give us, at that time, anything more to go on other than just his suspicion that they might be related somehow. Ten days after the DNA test, we learned that they were not only sisters, but fraternal twins.”
The dance benefit proceeds will be provided to Anais’ family to help with the cost of lodging when she goes to Houston for a bone marrow transplant in May. Anais’ mother will be staying at Anais’ side during the procedure, treatments and follow-up care for a minimum of 100 days.
“She’ll be admitted into the hospital a week early so that they can give her five rounds of chemotherapy — one treatment a day for five days to knock out her immune system so that when she receives the bone marrow transplant. So, hopefully her body will accept it,” Bri said.
Admission is $25 per dancer. Each dancer will receive a T-shirt. Choreographers will be offering more than three hours of dance instructions ranging from lyrical to hip hop dance moves. Other activities are planned during breaks to ensure the dancers not only learn, but have a great time.
“There’s really no words to describe how it feels.” Bri Ferguson said. “I’m excited because I have a twin but it’s also heartbreaking because she has cancer. I haven’t thought about the future of our relationship too much, because right now, I just want her to get better.”
For more information, or to reserve a spot for a dancer and provide a T-shirt size, email Robin Ferguson at Beavercreek Dance Teams, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danielle Coots is the freelance writer for Greene County News.