Atlanta man dances, gives back as war rages on in his home country of Ukraine

Dancing in the face of tragedy
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 8:30 AM EDT|Updated: May. 8, 2023 at 8:44 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A metro Atlanta man originally from Ukraine is giving back to his local community all while his home country is at war with Russia.

Dima Kamali competed in Dancing Stars of Atlanta, which raises money for the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“When they offered me this opportunity, I didn’t even think about it. I just said yes. I’m for it because I think when life gives you the chance to help you have to use it,” said Dima Kamali.

The 26-year-old was visiting friends and family in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv when the war broke out. He managed to flee the country and return to his home in Atlanta.

“I do really appreciate very much what the American people are doing right now for my country. The nation is helping with the refugee effort. I’m sorry, it’s a tough subject. I want to say it again, thanks,” said Kamali.

In 2020, nearly 150,000 people in Georgia over the age of 65 were suffering from Alzheimer’s. By 2025, the Alzheimer’s Association says that the number will likely jump to 190,000.

Money raised from Dancing Stars of Atlanta will be used for research aimed at finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, as well as the many services the organization offers to people living right here in metro Atlanta.

“Here he flees, this really stressful, sad, scary, you know, scary environment and comes here. And he just is giving,” said Leslie Holland of the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia chapter.

The owner of Dance Harmony says his dance instructors participate in the Dancing Stars of Atlanta fundraiser because dancing is proven to help both your body and mind.

“Dancing really does help people feel good about themselves as far as just physically. You know, if you dance, things are in balance. Also, dancing really keeps your mind occupied. So, even for that hour that you spent at the dance floor, you’re going to have such a distraction that you’re not going to be able to think about any worries that may occupy your mind,” said Martin Reinbold of Dance Harmony.

Dancing Stars of Atlanta raised just over $1 million. Tickets for the show at the Cobb Galleria were sold out.