Dancing with a Purpose
On June 11, 2016, Alex Litz, who grew up in Southwest Orlando, was in a car accident while driving home to visit his parents. It left him with punctured lungs, many broken bones and serious brain trauma, injuries that required emergency surgery at a hospital in Ocala. His family wasn’t even aware until the next day.
“He had a monitor in his brain to check for cranial pressure, so when we saw him, it was pretty traumatic,” Alex’s mom Cyndi Litz says. “They took both bone plates out of his skull and he stayed in ICU for many weeks, up and down with infections and pressure.”
Alex has spent the months since at Shepherd Center in Atlanta for rehab. The family has gone through a series of recovery successes and setbacks, but there’s a long road ahead for them as medical bills continue to rise.
Family, Friends & A Fundraiser
Enter Puttin On the Litz, a dance-a-thon fundraiser that is being organized by family friends to help fund Alex’s recovery. Many who know Cyndi from her time spent teaching dance to students at Thornbrooke Elementary School have been part of the planning process. Joanne Mitchell, one of the event organizers, counts her daughter Jacqueline among Cyndi’s former students.
“I just always had a fondness for her, for her style … and how she handled all these kids,” Mitchell remembers.
While the two aren’t especially close, they’ve kept in touch over the years. When Mitchell heard about the accident and the toll it was taking on the family, she knew she needed to do something for them with the help of their community.
Puttin On the Litz: The Details
Puttin On the Litz will be held on June 17 at SeaWorld’s Ports of Call. The date is just over a year since Alex’s accident. Participants will ask for donations before dancing the night away, and guests can bid on silent auction items. Thornbrooke Elementary will also be hosting its own fundraiser in which students can get involved.
The event was originally scheduled for next month at Windermere Town Hall, but the overwhelming support of the community created a need for a larger venue.
“This thing has really blown up, and I see a lot more work in it than I initially thought,” Mitchell says with a laugh. “But as I said to somebody the other night, it’s not about me. It’s about showing not just the financial benefits of what we can do from the fundraiser but the actual touch that it will give the family.”
The Litz family is grateful for all of the people who are helping them get through one of their toughest times of their lives.
Cyndi says, “Material things, those things I used to worry about, are nothing. Just the love I feel from the whole community, it’s just unbelievable.”