Life’s a celebration, and with DanceBlue, the party is all For The Kids. I can’t count the number of times people have asked me “What does the FTK mean in your Twitter and Instagram bios?” The simple answer is “For The Kids,” but the longer answer is one that most people don’t have the time to hear.
“For The Kids” means everything and anything. It’s DanceBlue’s mission and passion and, therefore, my mission and passion. It’s the driving factor behind why so many college kids give up their time, energy, and money to throw themselves into my favorite part about the University of Kentucky: DanceBlue. In a literal sense, “For The Kids” means standing for 24 hours, doing a line dance over and over, and counting pennies and dimes to put towards your fundraising goal throughout the year. But looking past this, it’s knowing that the smallest thing you do could be the biggest thing in someone else’s life.
Last year at the marathon, after some of the kids from the DanceBlue Clinic performed in the talent show, I went off to the side to get their autographs. One little girl pulled out a sheet of construction paper and, with a gigantic smile on her face, wrote her name with a bright pink marker and drew hearts around it. She proudly presented it to me and I almost broke into tears. I know it was because of the joy she was radiating despite the cancer that she had to battle. I still have that sheet of paper covered in autographs of joyful kids who are stronger than I can ever hope to be.
But when I talk about DanceBlue, I notice how often I use the phrase “I have so much fun” or “I love my friends I’ve made through DanceBlue.” The thing is…I don’t matter at all. The dancers, committee members, chairs, team captains, mini-marathons, or the thousands of people who donate money don’t matter.
The kids matter.
The kids who spend most of their lives at the clinic matter. The kids who don’t get to go to school matter. The kids who miss birthday parties, vacations, sleepovers, and days at the playground matter. The kids who still laugh with a smile on their face despite the enormous monster that is cancer staring right at them matter.
FTK means excessive tweeting, restaurant nights, and t-shirt ordering all have a purpose. It means living your life by always looking for ways to ease someone else’s burden. It’s crazy to think of the endless opportunities you have each day to bless someone else’s life. I hope you start each day with the FTK mentality of courage and strength that the kids show each and every day.
FTK means that these kids have a team cheering them on from the sidelines with a hope for a cure and a fanny pack strapped to their waist. DanceBlue isn’t about you, it isn’t about me, it’s not even about the University of Kentucky. It’s about the kids. It’s “For The Kids.” FTK.