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October 4, 2012
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Dancing, music highlight Special Olympics fundraiser in Grand Junction

Kimberly Bryant was tired of selling candy bars to raise funds for her son's Special Olympics activities, so Bryant, a belly dancer, decided last year to organize a variety show instead. This year's second annual "Helping Hearts Variety Show" will include several Middle Eastern-style dance troupes, a tap dance group, country singer JP Sunset Cowboy, jazz singer Tammy Russell, Susan Cypher and the Nightbird Band, and classic rock duo Remember When.Former Denver Broncos football player Vance Johnson will also make an appearance to sign a Broncos jersey - one of many silent auction items for sale at the event.The silent auction will include 60-70 items, including quilts and jewelry, Bryant said. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.Pizza, chili and other food will be for sale at the event as well.Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded Camp Shriver in 1962 to provide sports and other physical activities for people with intellectual disabilities. From there, Special Olympics evolved. The first International Special Olympics event was held in Chicago in 1968.Bryant's 20-year-old son Stewart was not allowed to play on mainstream sports teams due to a disability stemming from a stroke he experienced while in his mother's womb. For more than a decade, Special Olympics has given Stewart an opportunity to play team sports.Special Olympics teams from around the Western Slope get together to play basketball, baseball, tennis and bocci - Italian lawn bowling, Bryant said.Last year's event raised $2,000 for Western Slope Special Olympics athletes' sporting equipment, uniforms and travel expenses. The entertainment will include performances of Khubsurat Ruh Middle Eastern Dancers, Women's Tribal Fusion, Belly Expressions, High Desert Dancers, as well as the competitive cheer and dance group Express All Stars.Advance tickets are available by calling Bryant at 970-260-9657.

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 4, 2012 04:55PM Published Oct 4, 2012 04:41PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.