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For a few days every April for the last five years, Madisen Abramson, 8, of Mechanicsville takes a brief trip down to Florida, where she is temporarily transformed into a celebrity.

In 2008, Madisen’s uncle, Duane Chaney, formerly of St. Mary’s County, started a tennis benefit in Fort Myers, Fla., that raises money for cancer research. He named the event Madisen’s Match after his niece. In 2008, Madisen was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her condition is stable, but Madisen visits Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., several times a year for MRIs so her doctors can watch for any changes in the tumor. And the family has continuously looked for ways to help further research for those with cancer.

Madisen’s Match is one of those ways.

“She’s doing absolutely great,” Chaney said Monday morning of Madisen’s condition. “It’s a non-aggressive tumor, but they can’t operate because it’s intertwined with the brain stem.”

Chaney, a 1996 Chopticon High School graduate, works in investment and finance in Florida, but tennis is his passion, he said. And he used his tennis connections to start Madisen’s Match, an event that features former pros and professional coaches. At the two-day event, however, Madisen is the real star.

This year’s event, which will be held April 5 and 6, will be raising money to go toward the creation of a playroom named after Madisen in a new children’s hospital in Florida. Chaney and the Abramson family is hoping that Southern Maryland residents will be inspired to help; donations to build the children’s hospital will be matched. Debra Lockwood, Madisen’s grandmother, said in an email that she hopes Southern Marylanders will recognize this as a valuable time to help.

“We are strong believers in faith and healing and want to give hope to the hopeless and to those who struggle with all of the fears families face with life-threatening situations,” Lockwood wrote.

To learn more about Madisen’s Match or to donate toward this year’s event, visit www.madisensmatch.com.

Madisen is the daughter of Faye and Mike Abramson of Mechanicsville and she is a third-grader at Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School.

Reservations due for U.S. Naval Academy alumni dinner

The Greater Southern Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association invites all alumni and friends of the academy to its annual “Dark Ages” dinner on Friday, Feb. 1, at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training in Piney Point. Cocktails will be at 6:30 p.m.; call to dinner at 7:25 p.m.; and a buffet dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. The installation of officers and the GSMC president’s remarks will follow dinner.

Guests are asked to make reservations and pay for dinner online by visiting the GSMC website, www.navyalumni.org, and follow the directions in the e-invitation or RSVP by email to Richard.L.Snyder@saic.com or call 240-298-2279.

Cost is $37 per person, including gratuity and choice of wine with dinner. Reservations are needed by close of business on Thursday, Jan. 31.

Higher education center to host free international film series

The public to attend free screenings of five international films, one each from the Czech Republic, Uruguay, Israel, Taiwan and Australia, this winter at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California.

The Bridges to the World International Film Series is a statewide, month-long initiative.

The series will run for five weeks from Feb. 6 through March 6 at five venues throughout the state and feature films chosen by the embassies of the respective countries. The Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California is one of those selected venues. The film series will be presented in Building 2.

Each film will be introduced, screened and followed by a discussion. Presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. All films will be shown with English subtitles.

The series schedule is: Feb. 6, “Citizen Havel” from the Czech Republic; Feb. 13, “Journey to the Sea” from Uruguay; Feb. 20, “Eli & Ben” from Israel; Feb. 27, “Kung Fun Dunk” from Taiwan; and March 6, “Red Dog” from Australia.

For more information, call 301-737-2500, ext. 203. Tickets are not required for these free screenings; however, seating is on a first-come basis.

League of Women Voters adds more than 100 to voter registration rolls

The League of Women Voters of St. Mary’s County is a nonpartisan community service organization whose purpose is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. Every election year, the league’s members work to register voters in the community. In 2012, 33 percent of the members participated in 11 events at eight different venues from August to October to register voters in St. Mary’s County.

The league supplied blank registration applications as well as applications for absentee ballots at the College of Southern Maryland, the three county libraries, one of the high schools, Staples, Walmart and the farmers market in Charlotte Hall.

More than 100 applications were completed and turned in to the board of elections. Some individuals were registering for the first time, while others were new to the area. Some individuals took an application to be filled out later because they did not have the information needed to complete the application or they had relatives who needed to register.

Training for league registrars is provided by the board of elections.

For more information on the League of Women Voters of St. Mary’s County and to join, visit http://smc.lwvmd.org.

Basket bingo set to benefit rescue squad

A super Longaberger basket bingo to benefit the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Mechanicsville fire department social hall. Snow date is March 7.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; games begin 7 p.m.

Every basket will include Pampered Chef items. There will be pull tabs for Longaberger baskets and Coach purses.

Participants who reserve a seat will be entered in a drawing for the 2013 sweetheart basket set. The group leader with most reservations will win 2013 sweetheart basket. There will be two consolation prizes.

For reservations, call Joyce Downs at 301-884-8829 or 301-481-0906.

Set up a singing Valentine

Celebrate Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, for that special person by having a barbershop quartet serenade them. For $40, a quartet from the Southern Maryland Sound Chorus will visit a home, church or place of business and perform a singing Valentine. Delivery by telephone is also available for $20 outside the Southern Maryland area.

To learn more, visit http://southernmarylandsound.com/. To order a singing valentine, call Ken Ritter at 301-481-8536.

Purses and Totes Bingo set for Feb. 24

The Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary will host a Purses and Totes Bingo on Feb. 24 at the Ridge firehouse. Doors open at 1 p.m.; bingo begins at 2 p.m.

Prizes will be Coach, Vera Bradley, Longaberger Sisters and Thirty-One purses and bags. There will be money games, specials, pull tabs, raffles and refreshments.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Advance tickets must be purchased no later than Feb. 22. To purchase tickets, email auxiliary@ridgevfd.org or call 301-872-5671. Those purchasing advanced tickets will be entered into a drawing. Reserved tables for six or more are available from for advanced sales only. No children will be permitted unless they have their own ticket and are accompanied by an adult. Tickets are non-refundable.

There will be only one item won per game. This bingo is not affiliated with or endorsed by Coach, Vera Bradley, the Longaberger Co. or Thirty-One, though the prizes to be won are genuine products.

Auditions announced for summer ballet classes

The Ballet Arts Academy of the Old Waldorf School is preparing for its summer 2013 programming. Auditions for participants will be held Feb. 16 and March 2 at 4 p.m.

International instructors and choreographers will be joining Oscar Hawkins, artistic director, in conducting classes for beginner to advanced level students in technique, pointe, pas de deux, character and court dance and contemporary ballet. Christine Booker, pre-ballet instructor, will be holding classes to teach age-appropriate ballet technique as well as ballet-themed arts and crafts for children ages 5 to 8.

Classes will be held at the Old Waldorf School, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Extended programming is also being offered from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

The Ballet Arts Academy is a nonprofit organization devoted to the teaching of classical Russian ballet techniques through the Vaganova methodology. Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis for students who wish to dance but are unable to meet the financial requirements for this program.

For more information and fees, visit www.balletartsacademy.org or email lysaware.balletartsacademy@gmail.com.

Jones snags lead for CSM production

The College of Southern Maryland’s Children’s Theatre Co. has announced its cast for the production of “Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets,” a play by Allyson Currin.

CSM’s cast includes Emmeline Jones of Mechanicsville as Alastair Lodge; Rami Essa of Waldorf as Tipp; Robert Hamilton of Marbury as Milo and Laddie Boy; Robert Rausch of Waldorf as Max; Christopher Gilbert of Port Tobacco as Tad Lincoln; Sonya Falkenstein as Nanko and Alex LaClair as General Lafayette, both of La Plata; Mamayaa Opoku as Nanny, Ricky Jenkins as Alligator, Shad Kirkham as Him, Bailey Woodward as Her, Jeremy Smith-Boggs as Dick, Brandi Kirkham as Pauline Holstein, Aimee Bonnet as Pushinka, Kiefer Zickafoose as Fala, Kylie Kirkham as Millie, Paula Kirkham as Emily Spinach and Jessi Kirkham as Alice Roosevelt, all of Waldorf.

In the play, Alastair, the newly elected first daughter is thrilled about her upcoming four years in the White House, until her jittery Chihuahua, Tipp, convinces her that the pressure will be too much for either of them to bear. With the help of a wise White House usher and a time-traveling buggy, Alastair and Tipp go on a journey of through history in search of reassurance from some of the most colorful pets who lived in the White House.

Performances are Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 2 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $7 for adults and seniors and $5 for youth in high school or younger. The performance is suitable for all age groups.

For reservations, email bxoffc@csmd.edu or call 301-934-7828.

Annual guide to feature clubs, organizations

Near the end of March, The Enterprise publishes an annual guide to St. Mary’s County. One section of the guide is a directory of local nonprofit groups and organizations that are active in St. Mary’s. Enterprise staff will be updating that information during the next several weeks.

Groups that have not been listed in the guide before, however, who would like to be included are encouraged to contact Shertina Mack at 301-862-2111 or email information about your group to scraton@somdnews.com. Groups that have been included in the past who want to alert The Enterprise to changes in their listing are also invited to contact the paper with their changes.

scraton@somdnews.com