Cancer is something that has affected us all in one way or another. Maybe someone from your hometown was diagnosed with it, or someone in your family, or maybe even you. It is a disease that shows no mercy and attacks adults and children alike. Cancer is a great evil that takes many lives far before it is their time to go. I believe it is an innate quality of most people to want to defend those who cannot defend themselves and to fight alongside those who are suffering. There is no worse feeling than having someone you love struggle with something so painful and feeling like a helpless bystander. There has to be a way to fight back. We may not all be scientists or doctors, but that doesn’t mean our passion is for not. DanceBlue is the bridge between that innate desire within all of us to help and better research, treatment, and lives that are restored to normalcy.

My high school did not have a mini marathon, so when I arrived on UK’s campus, I had no idea what DanceBlue was or how to be a part of it. I asked one of my friends in my fraternity about the organization and he said it was an amazing organization, but I should come see it for myself – so I volunteered at the 2018 DanceBlue Marathon. As I stood at the hydration station, I couldn’t get over how much passion filled the room. It was something that I knew was truly special in a world that seems so divided. It was a beacon of hope, love, and solidarity. Even though I was simply filling water cups, I felt like I was a part of something much bigger than myself. It was a student run event on a scale I had never seen in my life. I knew I wanted to be a part of making an event like this happen, so I applied for the Operations Committee for the following year and was lucky enough to be accepted. Over the next two years, I learned what it took to keep an event like the marathon safe for all of those involved, as I served as a committee member and a coordinator for the Operations Committee. I learned that the bounds of love that can be felt in memorial during the marathon don’t stop at the edge of campus, but they radiate through the city of Lexington and out through the nation. Our city of Lexington feels so small as alumni, businesses, in-coming students, professors, physicians, and nurses all show their support for our cause. However, the most important lessons that I’ve learned from DanceBlue is that courage doesn’t have an age requirement, joy is a statement that we will not be beaten, and nothing can get in the way of love and passion. The kids of the clinic and their families are some of the strongest people I have ever met, and they find a way to smile each day despite being in the hardest of battles. In the midst of pain and darkness, they give us a reason to dance – so we will keep dancing ‘till the battle is won.

This year has been one for the books. 2020 has been hard for many people, and normal life seems to have come to a halt. Zoom usage has skyrocketed as normal class has almost become a thing of the past, and masks are a part of every daily outfit. I am proud to be a Wildcat, as the University of Kentucky saw this hurdle and trusted in its students to rise to the occasion. Our University has given us a shot, which to many on the outside, may seem risky – but to me and DanceBlue, it’s an opportunity to prove that we won’t be stopped from fighting alongside the families of the clinic.

On that note, the annual DanceBlue 5K is right around the corner! This year, our event is all virtual in an effort to keep everyone safe and healthy. While we wish we could be with you all in person, the race being virtual provides an opportunity that has not existed in the past for alumni or people interested in joining the fight against pediatric cancer to run the 5K, no matter where they live! If you would like to run the 5K, you can register through the link in DanceBlue’s Linktree or you can find the race on runsignup.com by searching “Virtual DanceBlue FT5K”. Registration is open now until 11:59 pm on 11/7 and you can submit your race time any time from 11/7 to 11/21. Every person to register will receive a comfort colors 5K t-shirt, a customized DanceBlue race bib, and incentive items based on when you register. If you have any further questions about the race, visit the FAQ section of our race page. If your question still isn’t answered, feel free to email me at [email protected]