I find it hard to put into words exactly how I have seen DanceBlue, not only in my life but the lives of those around me. DanceBlue gives hope to situations that appear to be hopeless. It gives people a voice and an outlet to serve when they feel helpless. That is the exact reason I began my journey with DanceBlue back in 2016. In high school, my family was shaken with some unexpected news. My Grandpa had been diagnosed with bladder cancer out of the blue. The word “cancer” had never personally affected my life until then. I always knew that this terrible monster we call cancer existed, but it was something that seemed like a fictional villain. Suddenly, this monster became very real, very fast. I didn’t know what this meant and did not know what I could do to help. It was some of the scariest times for me and my family. I watched one of the strongest men in this world be turned upside down, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was mad and sad. However, through this experience and being the person I am, I knew I wanted to help families facing this monster too. This is why getting involved in my high school’s DanceBlue mini-marathon was so appealing.
My junior year, I served on a committee at my high school where I helped plan the marathon hours, raise money, and organize the event. I loved seeing the students that I went to class with everyday come together for something that was making such a difference. This inspired me to get more involved during my senior year, and I had the opportunity to serve as head of the DanceBlue mini marathon. This was such a blessing and really gave me a deeper understanding of what the heart of DanceBlue really is. When deciding on what college to go to, there were a lot of factors in mind. For instance, I knew I wanted to go to a school that gave me opportunities both academically and in organizations that I was passionate about. From the very moment I decided on coming to the University of Kentucky, I knew that DanceBlue was going to be a big part of my college story.
For the past 2 years, I was able to be a dancer, which was an amazing and indescribable experience. Dancing is so hard mentally and physically, but there is some sort of magic in the air during those 24 hours. After the marathon this past year, I knew I wanted to get involved in a bigger capacity with DanceBlue. I didn’t know exactly how, but I knew that I had to help serve these kids in some way. I was a little scared at first. Thoughts like “you aren’t good enough” and “how are you going to make this work in your already crazy schedule” crept into my head. However, I listened to my heart and applied for Committee 2020, and I am so glad that I did. I am so excited to say that for my final year at UK and my final DanceBlue, I will spend my year serving the best kids and their families on Family Relations Committee. I am so excited to get back to UK in the fall and get to work.
Why Family Relations? Coming to college, I thought I knew exactly who I wanted to be and my exact purpose in life. My freshman year, I was a Broadcast Journalism major and had dreams of one day being on TV. I let this dream and idea of success drive everything I did. I was exhausting myself trying to be a girl that I was not. Thankfully, I realized that the dreams I had and the goals I had set were not what I was called to do with my life. I started doing some soul searching. I didn’t want my life to have an end goal of making it on a TV screen or making a certain dollar amount. I wanted to love on people, and I had to find a way to make that possible in my day-to-day life and my future career. I decided to switch my major, and ultimately, switch my views and intentions for my life. Being honest, I don’t know exactly where life is going to take me, but I do know one thing. No matter where life takes me, my purpose in life is to love people. Simple as that. Family Relations Committee is the ultimate example of devoting your time to just love people. This is what inspired me to want to be on this Committee specifically. I want to be a smile on a hard day, and a hug when everything seems to be going wrong. I want to devote my time to loving people and doing everything I can to make a positive impact on their life. I want to leave a legacy of love once I walk off this campus. I want to do everything I can for these kids.
Dance Blue is not just 24 hours, it is so much more. DanceBlue is the smile you see on a kid’s face at the 23-hour mark when they are dancing and singing at the Talent Show. It is the excitement you feel as you walk into the library and see another student sporting FTK gear. DanceBlue is a family, bonded by sweat, tears, and a determination to serve kids and families fighting for a better tomorrow. DanceBlue is love, passion, but most of all, DanceBlue is hope. It’s hope that these kids will have a happier and healthier future. DanceBlue allows me, as well as other students, to come together for something bigger than a biology test or a football game. It allows us to have a community with one another because we all have one goal in mind: to work towards a cure for pediatric cancer and to help provide a light in this world. The impact DanceBlue has on families and kids in the clinic and the community across Kentucky is life-changing. DanceBlue is one of the most important missions of which I have been a part of. It has helped shape and equip me for my future, proving over and over again, the importance of serving and loving others. I will forever support and live out the mission of DanceBlue because it is just that important. I will only leave a small mark on this organization, but it has left a huge mark on me.