Stepping foot on the University of Kentucky campus was incredibly overwhelming to me. I was an extreme introvert, but I was also adjusting to life over an hour away from home. During K Week, I was attempting to find an organization that would become a home away from home for me, and, to my surprise, I did. Over the last two years, DanceBlue has become even more than a home to me. I have met some of the greatest people ever and have completely stepped out of my shell. If you would have told me three years ago that I would stand on stage in front of nine hundred college students and lead them in activities, I would have called you crazy. But DanceBlue has helped me do that and so much more.
I was originally drawn to DanceBlue because I had just gone through the loss of my 5-year-old neighbor, Sophia, to childhood cancer. I followed her journey through her mom’s blog, crying every time they faced a new obstacle and smiling each time something positive happened to her. Unfortunately, she passed away after a year-long fight where she never gave up and greeted each day with a smile. I remember sitting at her celebration of life crying and making the promise to myself that I would live my life just as she lived hers. I heard about DanceBlue as soon as I stepped on campus freshman year and decided that it was the perfect way to live life like Sophia and to do what I could to make a difference.
After raising money and advocating for DanceBlue all over social media, I was granted a dancer spot through my sorority. When people tell you that the marathon is life-changing, they aren’t lying. I have never felt more connected to a room full of friends, family, and strangers than I did during the last three hours of the marathon. If you have never experienced these last hours, I strongly recommend that you come during DB 2020. After leaving the marathon (and sleeping for quite some time), I had the urge to become more involved in DanceBlue. I didn’t want to just raise money and be a dancer on the floor during the 24-hour, no sleeping, no sitting marathon. I wanted to make a bigger impact. So, I decided to apply for Committee and had the absolute honor and privilege of serving on Programming Committee for DB 2019. I not only served the kids in the greatest way possible, but I also met some of the best people I will ever know. Being surrounded by these amazing people for a full year left me wanting to do even more for the organization that had already given so much to me. I knew exactly what coordinator position I wanted to apply for before the 2019 marathon even came – Line Dance Coordinator. Growing up, I had spent years perfecting my turns and leaps and then moved on to create and choreograph dances for a local middle school dance team. Never in a million years did I think dancing would lead me to where I am today, but man am I glad it did.
Before coming to college, I had danced for 15 years of my life. I was on my middle and high school dance teams, danced competitively for a few years, and even placed 10th in the world at the Dance Worlds, which ended up being my last performance ever. After dancing almost every day for 15 years, I felt empty when I started college and no longer had that constant in my life. Even though it has been two years, DanceBlue has filled that void in my life. Dance has always been such a large part of my life and now DanceBlue has become near and dear to my heart. I am blessed to have this opportunity to combine the two!! Knowing that I will be watching so many of you do the line dance and seeing the joy that the tradition of the line dance brings to the dancers is already bringing me to tears (yes I’m a crier hahaha).
DanceBlue is so much more than a 24 hour, no sleeping, no sitting, dance marathon. To me, it represents all of the children that have and are currently fighting cancer. It is an organization and a place that allows college students to come together and support not only the kids but also their families. After being involved with DanceBlue for the last two years as both a dancer and Committee member, my eyes have been opened to the impact that we, as college students, are able to make in the lives of the kids and their families. We are able to bring joy to them, even in their darkest days. We celebrate with them when they ring the bell. We grieve with them when times take a turn for the worst. DanceBlue has changed my perspective on life. It taught me to live each day to its fullest and not sweat the little things. DanceBlue has provided me a passion for helping these kids and their families and given me hope that one day we will find a cure.
“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry ’bout what you don’t know, life’s a dance, you learn as you go.” – John Michael Montgomery
DB 2020, here we come!!!! So excited to be dancing with all of you so soon!!