Irish Dancers Perform In OC To Help Ill Teen

Irish Dancers Perform In OC To Help Ill Teen
A teenage dance troupe from northern Virginia is pictured on the Boardwalk last weekend trying to raise money for a local teen battling kidney disease. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY — An impromptu Irish dance performance by a trio of siblings on the Boardwalk last weekend is helping a local fishing boat with its fundraising efforts for a teenage girl battling illness.

The stars lined up just right last weekend when an Irish dancing family troupe visited Ocean City, decided to take a fishing trip on the Tortuga out of Bahia Marina and learned of the crew’s efforts to raise money for a teenage girl battling a disease. The Irish dancing family troupe’s three young stars learned of the Tortuga’s fundraising effort during the trip and decided they wanted to help.

The family troupe called the ShamrockRs from northern Virginia perform at the very highest level and compete and perform at venues all over the world. The three young dancers, including girls Leighlyn (17), and Shetlynd (15) along with the youngest boy Revere (13), have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Disney in Orlando and even across the pond in Ireland at various events and competitions.

“They perform up and down the East Coast, but we’ve also been to Ireland and other places for competitions,” said mom Kimberly. “The kids are champion Irish step dancers and this is our family thing. On the competition side, they are at world level, which is the highest, and it’s very intense. It’s like the Olympics of Irish dancing.”

The ShamrockRs were training a national competition when the family decided it needed a break from the rigors of training, performing and competing at such a high level. As luck would have it, they chose Ocean City.

“We needed a getaway just to calm things down a little and we came to Ocean City for four or five days,” said mom Kimberly. “It was the perfect weekend for it with the air show and Father’s Day.”

The extended weekend stay included a performance at Shenanigan’s Irish Pub on the Boardwalk on 5th Street with the popular Irish band the Dublin Five. Before that scheduled performance, however, the ShamrockRs did things most families do on vacation in Ocean City including a day of fishing on the Tortuga.

“We had never been fishing on the Tortuga so we signed up and went out on Friday,” she said. “In talking with the crew, we learned they were trying to raise money to help a teenage girl they knew who was struggling with a serious illness and the kids said maybe we can help.”

Indeed, the Tortuga crew is trying to help 14-year-old Brianna Cangemi, who is battling a kidney disease and undergoes dialysis often a few times a week. The Tortuga crew is helping to raise money for Cangemi and her family as the medical bills mount. For example, the Tortuga is hosting a fireworks cruise on the Fourth of July and the $20 admission fee is going to the Cangemi family.

When the ShamrockRs learned of Brianna’s situation, the trio of Irish dancing siblings decided they wanted to help in the best way they could. That meant an impromptu performance on the Boardwalk that Saturday night before their scheduled gig at Shenanigan’s.

“We were aware of the busking and performing opportunities on the Boardwalk and decided to use that as an opportunity for a warm-up for our performance at Shenanigan’s,” said mom Kimberly. “It was the kids’ idea. They were really in tune with this young girl and the challenges she was facing with her illness and the could relate to that because they are around the same age.”

The ShamrockRs did give their performance on the Boardwalk and drew a significant crowd. Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) bike patrol officers even had to intercede at one point to direct the Boardwalk tram around growing crowd.

“They put out the hat and did a performance right there on the Boardwalk,” said mom Kimberly. “A big crowd formed and they collected a significant amount of money. The crew on the Tortuga gave a contact for the family and we are going to send them a check.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.