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      Mirror ball champions reflect on win, supporting hospice

      Last Thursday night, a special event was taking place at Forest Roberts Theatre at Northern Michigan University. The first-ever Dancing with the Stars Marquette County Style competition was held, and it raised at least $35,000 for the Upper Peninsula Hospice Foundation.

      Hospice patients and families were the real winners from the night, but the mirror ball trophy was handed out to the dancing couple who got the most combined support from the community and the panel of judges. Jeremy Hansen and Alicia Frechette reflected on their championship.

      "It's something I never would have done," said Hansen. "I wouldn't have taken the time to learn how to dance. Not that I did learn how, but apparently I got lucky. So it was just a memorable experience of learning how to dance and keeping in mind that it's for a great cause."

      The couple recalled their feelings before taking the stage in front of more than 600 people.

      "Something kind of came over me where it's like, just have fun, and I actually wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be, surprisingly," said Frechette.

      "Typically I do not get too nervous about things, but this, I was extremely nervous. I thought I was going to actually puke," Hansen added.

      They danced a cha cha to "Tonight" by Enrique Iglesias.

      "It did not go perfectly; we had a few mistakes, but apparently nobody noticed," Frechette said.

      The talented couple won over the three judges, as well as some of the audience members and online voters who cast 1650 total votes for the eight pairs. Hansen, who owns two Marquette funeral homes, and Frechette, who owns a Marquette hair salon, are still looking for a perfect spot for the mirror ball trophy.

      In the meantime, the U.P. Hospice Foundation is working on plans for next year's competition.

      "I would say definitely go next year, and if you're asked to be involved, as nervous as we were, and we were thinking, 'I don't know if we can do this,' I would definitely do it again and recommend anybody to do it or somehow be involved in it," Frechette said.

      Hansen said he is glad he participated this year.

      "As much as I didn't want to do it originally, just because it was out of my comfort zone, it really gave me some great satisfaction to be able to help out and give back to the community that supports us so much here," he said.

      Frechette heard many positive comments about the event.

      "I heard so many people say that it was one of the best fundraisers they had gone to," she said. "They did such a good job with it, especially for the first time."

      T-shirts and other memorabilia from the event are still being sold. A DVD featuring all of the dances from the evening is also being produced. You can call the Upper Peninsula Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty office at (906) 485-4545 for more information.