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Hello Excel Families,

It is with such a heavy heart that I finally send this email. Last Monday our dance family lost a sweet little girl, Rowan, age 5, to an asthma attack that was too much for her little body. It has been a week full of so many emotions and our hearts are just broken for Rowan and her family. Her visitation and funeral were truly a celebration of her life and I would like to take the time to share and ask for our dance family's support as we prepare to honor her at this years recital.

Rowan started dancing with me when she was 2 in the play pals class with her mommy, Jessi. She was so full of joy!!! She was a always a little shy at first, I remember her hiding behind her mom's leg but peeking out at me with those blue eyes waiting for me to come tickle her or invite her to sing her favorite, little mousies. In play pals, being that it is a parent participation class, we are able to bond quite a bit with the parents too and Jessi was such a happy, energetic and patient mom! She would always encourage Rowan and dance right along with us. Rowan had the cutest little short hair that took forever to grow!!! This year she was finally able to get it half up half down, and man she was proud of that! So she always had the cutest headbands and bows and she loved her "pretties" which were usually always pink, her fav!!!! hahaha!! I was blessed to watch her grow at the studio as she went to dance with Ms. Stefanie and then to Ms. Amanda's class this year. I looked forward to her hugs on Monday when I visited. She was always so proud to show me her baby brothers. She was for sure your typical mother hen older sister lol!!! Those were her babies. She will now be watching over those babies and her family as an angel and we will miss her so very much! I can still hear her giggle!!! I can picture her smile perfectly and those memories I am so grateful for! I would love to honor our sweet Rowan at recital this year.

Her family will be attending our Twinkle Toes show to support her friends and be there to honor Rowan in her favorite thing to do, dance! The staff will be wearing little pink ribbons in her honor as well as a little pink stuffed animal will be placed on stage (non distracting to our littles) during her dances. She will get her chance to shine for sure while still sharing that stage time with her dance friends! We will also be selling pink carnations and daisies for $2 starting May 21st that we will put in vases on the side of the stage during recital, and all the donations will go to Rowan's family to help with expenses.

If you would like to help more, we have also started taking donations of gift cards or cash to have us purchase gift cards for her family. They are living in South Haven so a food train would be too difficult and I thought gift cards to restaurants, Meijer or places that they can spend time as a family would be appreciated. I will take them to her next week when I visit. Thank you all so much for supporting our Excel families!! She said she could already feel so much support from something Rowan loved so very much and this means the world to me! Dance families are truly something special and we can come together to help support Rowan's family in a way that she will always remember.

Thank you all so very much for your thoughts and prayers for our staff, too, as we experience a loss in a way we have never before. It's been a very difficult time but we will get through this together and celebrate a beautiful life! I love you all very much!

xoxo Ms. Katie
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