Dance studio pays it forward to generous costume director - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Dance studio pays it forward to generous costume director

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

You've probably heard the expression "working your fingers to the bone." That might not be too far off for a woman who has spent nearly 40 years through pain, sweat and tears to bring joy to young girls in he Valley.

The students at Campbell's Dance Studio regularly display their moves in venues all over the world. But there is a woman behind the stage, usually buried in fabric, with a tape measurer always within reach.

She works tirelessly to marry together beauty with skill.

"Every year, I say, 'This is it, no more, this is retirement year," Campbell's Dance Studio costume designer Karen Rogers said.

For 38 years, Rogers has been the costume director at Campbell's and has been fitting and refitting generation after generation, costume after costume - more than 1,000 a year.

"There's times I'll be sitting at a competition and I'll see a costume and punch whoever's sitting next to me and say, 'Oh, that's so cute' and they'll say, 'Well, you made it' and I don't remember, because I do so many," Rogers said.

Rogers never let anyone enter her designs for awards because there was a $25 entry fee. Many people didn't even know that she's a two-time breast cancer survivor because she kept coming to work, kept making costumes, even through the worst of chemotherapy.

"I would say, 'Karen, don't you want time off' and she would say, 'No, when I come here, you all treat me like I am well and normal, when I'm home, then I'm sick,'" Campbell's Dance Studio owner Frances Campbell said.

Katie Beeson has been wearing Campbell's creations since she was a little girl. Now as an instructor, she wanted to finally give Rogers the credit for her hard work and dedication. With the help of CBS 5 News' Pay It Forward, she awarded Rogers with $500.

Last year, without her knowledge, Rogers was entered in the costume category and won.

With the curtain soon closing on her career, she now knows her hard work and influence will live on.

Rogers, who wears a defibrillator because she collapsed once and her heart stopped for 19 minutes, just keeps plugging away.

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