April 30. 2013 7:55PM

Salem-based charitiy's dance-a-thon to benefit local homeless families

Union Leader Correspondent

SALEM - On May 11, in the middle of National Nurses Week, the Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital's nursing team will host a special dance-a-thon to benefit Family Promise of Greater Rockingham County, a local not-for-profit charity that helps homeless families get back on their feet.

The Salem-based charity, which meets monthly at Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church, was formed to help homeless families in Atkinson, Auburn, Chester, Danville, Derry, Hampstead, Kingston, Londonderry, Newton, Pelham, Plaistow, Salem, Sandown and Windham.

Participating congregations take turns hosting families. On average, the churches will have overnight guests for about one week every few months.

During the host week, volunteers cook and serve meals, play with children and offer friendship and support to adults.

Organized by the hospital's Nurse of the Year Karen Bohnwagner and Licensed Nursing Assistant of the Year Lisa Robert, the 12-hour dance-a-thon will begin at 10 a.m. at William T. Barron School in Salem. During the dance-a-thon, participants will form their own teams and themes while gathering sponsors for each hour of dancing.

Staff from the hospital's three locations will be on hand to get the dance in full swing, with nursing supervisor Dourriya Jefferji offering massages to participants and physician Tom Cody playing bass guitar with his band, Nighttime Urgency.

Drs. Srirangam Padmanadhan and James Whitlock will whip up tasty Indian delicacies, while fellow doctor Elizardo Carandang will lead participants on the dance floor.

Opening remarks will be given by this year's Ganley Award winner, the Rev. David Yasenka and Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital pastoral care coordinator Henry Fardella, with Bob Gibbs of the Salem Kripalu Yoga Studio helping participants warm up for the day.

DJ Brian and DJ Chris of A & B Music have volunteered to play the entire night.

Professional photographer Stacy Maynard, a respiratory therapist in Salem, will be capturing all of the excitement on camera.

Hospital spokesman Naomi Gardener said the event, the first of its kind, has already drawn support from businesses and community members.

"Hopefully we'll continue to help make a difference in our community," Gardener said.

For more information or to register, visit the event's Facebook page, 1st Annual Northeast Rehab Dance-A-Thon.