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Magic show to benefit cancer patients

BY SARAH LARSON | DECEMBER 08, 2009 7:30 AM

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Magician David Casas will bring the magic of Las Vegas to Iowa City tonight with a show designed to benefit cancer patients.

At 7 p.m. today, Casas will display his illusions for free at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., with donations being accepted for the Hope Lodge.

When he was asked to donate his time for the Hope Lodge patients, he found himself drawn to the event under personal circumstances. His father is a recovering cancer patient.

“I think it’s a great cause,” Casas said. “I just hope everybody comes out and supports it.”

Casas said he is excited about the show, and he hopes people come out to support the good cause. The Muscatine native has been practicing magic for 10 years, including a year spent in Las Vegas under a mentor.

The performance is a result of UI student Danny Morice’s aim to do more than volunteer. The junior was taking Social Inequality when the class was assigned to set up a service-learning project. The biology and pre-med major chose to volunteer at Hope Lodge. At first, he was going to have his longtime friend Casas present his show to the patients at Hope Lodge, but Casas suggested a larger venue, and the event transformed into a fundraiser.

Hope Lodge administrative assistant Kim Mueller was overjoyed that Morice took the initiative to go beyond class requirements.

“He took off with everything,” Mueller said. “This volunteer has been amazing.”

The American Cancer Society created Hope Lodge. It provides free lodging and necessities and alleviates stress for cancer patients and their families who live too far away from their treatment centers. There are 29 Hope Lodges in the United States, and one is in Iowa City for patients at UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Mercy Hospital.

“It allows the cancer patients to choose the best possible treatment,” Mueller said. “Even if it’s half way across the world, it allows them to choose the best treatment.”

Morice said he was amazed by the positive attitudes people kept despite going through immensely difficult times in their lives. The positive and rewarding experience he had there made him want to help, he said.

“I saw what they were doing as just really, really amazing,” he said. “I wanted to give to that in some way.”


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