The very first time I heard about DanceBlue was during the fall semester of my junior year at Madison Central High School. From that moment, I knew I had to become actively engaged with this incredible organization. That’s when I heard about DanceBlue’s Mini Marathons, which were hosted by high schools all across Kentucky. I was determined to form a committee with fellow Madison Central students so we, too, could raise funds and awareness For The Kids.
After forming our Mini’s committee, I had an opportunity to join my dad for our very first UK DanceBlue Marathon at Memorial Coliseum. As we stood there watching, I couldn’t believe what I saw! Around a thousand UK students were on the gym floor, standing together to help fight for children and their families! My heart simply overflowed with love and joy.
At that particular DanceBlue, I will never forget one incredible magic moment. I was talking with my dad when it seemed like out of nowhere the sweetest little voice began singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Standing on the stage was a precious little girl – no older than 5 – with the biggest smile and wearing a pink tutu. There was no doubt that this little girl was having the time of her life! As I looked closer I noticed her head had been shaved. This angel had some form of cancer. But was she down? No! Was she loved? You betcha! She was a rockstar as enthusiastic, screaming UK students cheered her on!
As my two final years of high school came to an end, I realized that I didn’t want my DanceBlue experience to stop. I wanted to continue it as a UK student! So, I applied to be on committee as a freshman and was blessed to be named as a member. When I attended my very first meeting, I immediately felt like I was home. All of us were assembled to achieve something bigger, more important than any one of us could ever do as individuals. Serving my first year on Committee introduced me to several people who I now consider family. The beauty of DanceBlue is that it is open to everyone on campus and made this big campus seem much smaller.
“A piece of advice I can give to incoming freshman would be to venture around campus, find groups filled with passionate people, and dive right in. You will create a lot of memories the more you get involved and everyone needs to try to dance at least one year at DanceBlue while you’re at UK.”
Not only has this organization allowed me to find my family at UK, DanceBlue has become an outlet for me to honor the memory of my Uncle Robert, who passed away before I was born. Robert, or Bob as he was more commonly known, was diagnosed at the age of 24 with carcinoid syndrome, a rare type of cancer, and was told by the doctors that he had most likely carried the disease for over 12 years. Robert helped bring my parents together, was my dad’s best man, and very sadly passed away during my parents’ first year of marriage. He has stood as one of my top reasons for dancing and fighting for a cure alongside DanceBlue.
The roots of DanceBlue stem from Jarrett Mynear, while a patient at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital he spread joy throughout the KCH Hematology/Oncology Clinic by giving each child something as simple as a toy. A lot of times, the things that we think are simple are oftentimes the most meaningful. Jarrett saw that hidden within those toys was a ticket for each child to escape the world of needles and pain. What an inspirational and influential person he was! His spirit continues to burn in DanceBlue’s mission of service and serves as my biggest lesson, that there is no greater joy in life than the joy of serving others.