Brain cancer survivor will perform in Virtual Holiday Spectacular


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “You’ve put everything you have into creating this business and we had to sit and watch it kind of die on the vine,” said ballroom dancer Chris Spalding. He and his wife Kelly own the Fort Wayne Ballroom company. They closed in March because of COVID-19. In April Chris learned he had brain cancer.

“I remember after my brain surgery, it was a handful of days I’d been in the Neuro ICU and I had to sit up. I swore I was never going to walk again. I couldn’t fathom the idea of walking again because just sitting up was so hard,” reflected Spalding. “I was so dizzy and so disoriented and so weak that I just never thought I’d ever walk again.”

Eight months after his diagnosis, Spalding is doing more than walking. He is now back on the dance floor. “All of the therapists were amazed that because I dance it was incredible how much and how quickly my body recovered.”

Chris and Kelly are among about 200 artists who will take the stage Sunday, December 20 in the Virtual Holiday Spectacular. They’ll help raise money for fellow artists, many of whom lost their jobs because of the pandemic. “I always try to stay involved and supportive of the arts community here in Fort Wayne,” said Spalding.

Some of the other performers include the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Philharmonic Players Association and the Indianapolis Ballet. Singing sensation Addison Agen headlines the show. It’s a little more than an hour long and features about 15 different acts. Andy Lott is the executive producer. He hopes the community embraces VHS.

“Every artists you will see is performing either for free or at a greatly reduced cost and so we hope the community will support this event,” said Lott. “Donations are encouraged but not required. They’re tax-deductible and will go directly to artists participating in the event as well as the Community Harvest Food Bank and the Arts United Artist Relief Fund.”

The show can be viewed on through January 20, 2021.

WANE 15 is also involved. Evening news anchor Terra Brantley will host the event. Each segment was prerecorded separately at the Embassy Theatre with detailed COVID-19 precautions in place to help keep everyone involved safe.

“If we’re going to make it through this, we all have to pull together and work together and be willing to give to our neighbor,” said Spalding.

You can watch the Virtual Holiday Spectacular by going to or Facebook. It starts at 8 p.m. Sunday, December 20.

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