The “Pence Bunch” is no stranger to dancing. Dedicated ambassadors of the annual Dance Marathon at the University of Florida and fans of dancing to the family Kinect, the Pence family of Gainesville certainly knows how to get down.
This week Shands Hospital for Children at UF benefitted from the Pences dance moves when the family won second place and a $20,000 donation to the hospital and $3,000 cash in the Primrose Schools’ Family Dance-off. The Pence family and Primrose Schools came together in a Wednesday ceremony to present their winnings to Shands Hospital for Children at UF.
“It is families like the Pences that allow all the terrific things we do here to happen,” said Scott Rivkees, M.D., chair and professor of pediatrics at the UF College of Medicine, who welcomed a roomful of patients, nurses, doctors and students, and thanked them for a job well done.
The contest attracted 117 families across the nation to submit their 30-second video. Inspired by the Brady Bunch, the “Pence Bunch” video – which received a total of 38,372 votes – featured all eight family members including: mom and dad, Kelly and Nathan Pence; children Austyn, Lauren, Stacy, Tyler and Amy; and the family dog, Charlie, breaking it down to their own rendition of the Brady Bunch theme song.
The family’s true inspiration is 7-year-old Tyler, who was diagnosed with a cleft lip and possible cleft palate before birth. At just 3 months old he was treated at the Craniofacial Center at Shands at UF. As Kelly Pence says, the care he received and continues to receive is “impeccable … the best in the world as far as I’m concerned.”
The Pence family and Kim Englehardt, executive director of public relations and communications for Primrose Schools, then proudly handed over the $20,000 check to Rivkees. But the surprise of the morning came in the form of a second announcement.
“The Pence family has decided to do something different with its check,” Englehardt said. The family then gave back its $3,000 prize to Rivkees. The family also plans to provide Shands with $1,000 they initially received for being a finalist in the contest.
After the surprise announcement Kelly Pence graciously thanked everyone who voted for the family’s video. “That’s why we did it. For the kids!” she said.
When asked if Tyler would like to say anything, it only took a second for him to think before he excitedly broke into the Gator chomp.
The Primrose Schools’ Family Dance-off is part of the organization’s commitment to fight childhood obesity. The contest comes on the heels of the 18th annual Dance Marathon at UF, which took place this past weekend. The event benefits Gainesville’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital, Shands Hospital for Children at UF. This year, more than 800 dancers and 1,000 other students worked together to raise nearly $887,000.