With only a little over two weeks left until DanceBlue 2018, the final fundraising deadline is quickly approaching! All cash and check donations are due by 4 p.m. today to the ticket office in Bowman’s Den, and this is the very last day to donate to a team! After that, all of the final preparations for the marathon start.

This year, I am serving as the Team Fundraising Coordinator. That basically means I help team captains and their teams set up fundraising events throughout the year and keep track of them on DanceBlue’s calendar so there aren’t too many on the same day and stuff like that. I help with the community canning events that we set up for teams to go door-to-door asking for donations, and really just anything else fundraising or other people on committee or teams need. Naturally, as part of the fundraising team, I’m around the money aspect of DanceBlue constantly.

We have had our hands on the actual money that will contribute to the final total at the marathon. We’ve sat and counted it out by hand, and we see all the donation slips that come in through the ticket office. We’ve seen team’s Network For Good pages, tried to help them brainstorm ideas for ways to fundraise and have seen the checks come in from restaurant nights.

We don’t do it for the dollar sign; we do it For The Kids.

People are constantly asking me, “So how much money do you think DanceBlue 2018 will raise? Do you think it’ll be more than last year? How can I find the restaurant that will give my team the biggest percentage for our event?”

The money is easy to get wrapped up in, and a lot of people do get a little obsessed with it. However, I can promise you that while I am so proud of how much DanceBlue has raised and what we have been able to accomplish with that money, it’s about so much more.

DanceBlue is about the kids and the families. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives so things can hopefully become a little easier for them. It’s about making the families feel comfortable and safe. It’s about letting kids just be kids for a while and taking their mind off being sick.

I encourage all of you to take advantage of the time you get to spend at the marathon. Whether you’re a dancer, a committee member, a volunteer or you’re just coming to hang out in the stands, DanceBlue is an amazing experience. You get to see the kids running around on the dance floor, playing games and having fun. You get to be around hundreds of students who share the passion of fighting pediatric cancer and other childhood illnesses. You get to see first-hand the people that the money is going to help.

I’m not going to lie, the reveal of the total at the end of the marathon is a really cool part about DanceBlue. Every year I go through a crazy amount of emotions leading up to it and then even more during it. I remember last year when I was on morale committee, we were all standing in the back of the dance floor waiting for them to hold those numbers up. When they did, I immediately started sobbing. I was so happy, and I couldn’t hold it in.

I honestly didn’t even take the time to read what the number said. I just started crying and hugging my morale partner and all of my friends around me. We were literally jumping with joy and running around like crazy people back there. You see, it’s really not about the actual number up on that stage. It’s about what it represents.

I got emotional thinking about all the hard work everyone had put in during the year we had been preparing for that marathon. I thought about times I had gotten to spend time with kids in the clinic, played games with them at the marathon, and talked to their parents and siblings. I thought about how much we would be able to help them by having great staff in our amazing clinic, taking care of little things like gas cards, and having them know that there is an entire community behind them that is ready to help them fight.

It hit me the hardest when I thought about the possibility of seeing a day where cancer and other childhood illnesses no longer exist. Like many of you, I feel hopeful and overjoyed thinking about that day. Nothing would make me happier; not $1 million, not $2 million, not even $200 billion could trump that day. So while money is undoubtedly a factor in DanceBlue, it’s definitely not the most important part.