By Beth Volpert
Wanda Sandels dances with hope, determination and gratitude for a life that will make you believe in second chances. In January of 2002, Wanda was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia just shortly after her 51st birthday . “I had no symptoms at all; just went for my annual physical & had blood work done,” says Wanda.
She had been dancing 3 hours per day, 2 or 3 days per week in order to practice for World's Cabaret dance competition. “I was dancing; I felt great, even though the doctors all said I should have been totally exhausted & sleepy,” says Wanda. “That was not the case at all!” She was grateful to God for her annual physical and for a doctor who knew something was not quite right.
Wanda began treatment on the very day she was diagnosed. After a three month chemotherapy treatment, Wanda entered the Northside BMTGA for a stem cell transplant. Her brother, Lamar, was a perfect match. She was treated for an additional year and then was found to be “cured”. “Of course, there were several tough times when it didn't look like I would pull through, but due to God's grace, I am here now.”
Wanda and her husband, Geoff joined the Georgia Team in Training hike team with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society nine years ago. They will begin training this month for the upcoming season. “Every year we make our fundraising goal $10,000 & have exceeded it every year,” says Wanda.
In addition to the hike team, Wanda hosts a dance each year to celebrate her recovery and ability to continue dancing. For the past eight years, Wanda has welcomed friends, new and old, to Killian Hall for a great time with an even greater cause. “I have been working hard to give back to others in need,” says Wanda. “Those who attend have been such a large part of our giving, including my son and his band.” In the past eight years, Wanda’s efforts have raised just over $80,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Wanda and Geoff are grateful for the chance to dance and don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the embrace. The couple will host the 2014 LLS Fundraiser at Killian Hall in Lilburn on Valentine’s Day at 7:30pm. This year’s DJ will have the floor hopping again with Wanda right in the middle. For more information visit: http://wandasdance.com.