Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 | 11:29 a.m.
There’s heartbreak and sadness behind the success that Chippendales at the Rio dancer Jaymes Vaughan is enjoying on Season 21 of CBS’ hit global adventure “The Amazing Race” with best friend and fellow Rio headliner James Davis.
Just before the worldwide trek began, Jaymes, 31, learned that his father was diagnosed with a rare cancer for which there is no cure. Last week, he took a turn for the worse, and Jaymes is praying that he can overcome the setback.
“We’ve done as much as we can for now to make sure he’s comfortable and turn it into a curable cancer. We pay for the house, so that’s not a worry. We pay the medical bills, so that is not a concern to him. They didn’t have money when I needed braces. I was a mess, and they came through somehow, so now if we win the $1 million, it could all go to helping find a cure for him.”
“Both of us are young enough and strong enough to do double shifts, so we can send money home to take care of him,” said 27-year-old James.
The two entertainers also have developed a website, ForgetCancerNow.com, hoping to raise additional funds. It features a shred-your-heart speech by Jaymes and James as to why they’ll share any of “The Amazing Race” prize money to their families.
You may well tear up reading Jaymes’ message there: “My Dad always told me I could do anything I wanted. He encouraged me and made me feel like the world was mine to conquer. Now he is battling one of the rarest forms of cancer in the world, and he needs help to conquer it.”
On Sunday night’s episode, their challenge began with choosing either Paris or Amsterdam based on the nearly identical blue, white and red flags of the two European countries (the French flag is vertical and the Dutch flag is horizontal).
Despite facing a dreaded U-turn challenge, they were able to avoid elimination and next Sunday move onto Spain and the Battle of the Bulls. Last night in one challenge, they stripped off their shirts in pouring rain, donned their Chippendales cuffs and bowties and raised 30 Euros on a deserted street with music from an organ grinder.
No clogs or tulips, but a wonderful grandmother who has never been to the Rio -- let alone seen bare-chested hunks in many a year! -- dug in her purse, and our boys were safe to move on.
Team Chippendales James and Jaymes also told the cameras that they believe they will make it to the final leg of the race -- and hope whoever else makes it will be happy for the overall winner. In Amsterdam, they got a little extra help from Natalie and Nadya.
All the handsome hunks at Chippendales in the Rio also are helping the “Imagine There’s No Hunger” charity campaign supported by John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and our local hard Rock Cafe on the Strip and the Harmon and Paradise location. The Chippendales will wear a signature, limited-edition bracelet for WhyHunger.org, which helps combat childhood hunger and poverty around the world.
Our best wishes are extended to Jaymes and James at this difficult time. We join their prayers for Jaymes’ father’s recovery and hope that they win the $1 million prize, too.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.