Since coming to the University of Kentucky, there has been one word that shapes the way I live my life; and that word is passion. There are two special people that have instilled the desire in me to follow my passions. From an early age, my Dad has always reminded me to “Find your passion Bobby, and then run with it!” To fully live by those words, I have always had a passion for making my friends laugh, for loving my family, and since starting college I have developed a strong passion for Nursing and taking care of others. But even more recently, I have fostered a passion for the kids, for DanceBlue. That other special person that spoke the importance of passion into my life coincidentally was one of my first leaders serving on the DanceBlue committee, and I am not sure he even knows the impact he has made on my life. He told me to “Find whatever you are passionate about, and never let it go.” My name is Bobby Wilking, and I have the pleasure of serving as the DanceBlue 2019 Mini Marathons Chair this year, and spreading the joy of DanceBlue through Mini Marathons is my favorite passion.

I wouldn’t call my “job” on DanceBlue much of a job, because I get the opportunity to travel to surrounding Kentucky high schools and spread the magic that is DanceBlue through Mini Marathons. Mini Marathons provide such a unique opportunity to take a little taste of our 24-hour marathon and our message of serving the kids in order to grow our DanceBlue family far and wide. The high school and middle school students and faculty involved in Mini Marathons are truly the future of DanceBlue, and therefore it is a privilege to bring so many eager hearts and minds into the DanceBlue family. Mini Marathons have become such a large part of DanceBlue and it is amazing to see the sense of community that stretches so far beyond the University of Kentucky’s campus. As an out of state student, every single person I encounter through Mini Marathons has been a brand new, fresh face that I get to share the message of Jarrett Mynear and DanceBlue with. This fight against Pediatric cancer is a very large battle that requires the entire DB family, and the Mini Marathons have proven to serve as a pretty big army for the job. So, Dad, I have found my passion, and that passion is using Mini Marathons to spread the love that DanceBlue has to offer, and I’m “running with it” all the way across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond.

This past year was such a successful year for Mini Marathons, as we continued to raise money for the kids, we also reached new schools and ignited new passions in the hearts of young Kentucky students across the entire Commonwealth. A record 28 Mini Marathons took place in high schools and middle schools throughout Kentucky resulting in an astounding total of $254,207.81 just by Minis alone. Mini Marathons have become a major part of DanceBlue, and its success is due to such a united effort by every part of our family. I am so looking forward to continuing and fostering our relationships with our Mini Marathons throughout this next year as they are such a special and essential part of DanceBlue.

It has been such a humbling experience being a part of this organization, and amazing to see how something so cruel and scary like cancer can connect others and myself with so many selfless and servant-hearted people who are all just eager to lend a helping hand. I wholeheartedly believe that with the efforts and love of each person fighting this fight, one day we will no longer be dancing For The Kids, but With The Kids.

So, to pass on a little wisdom – find whatever you are passionate about, whether it be sports, art, music, animals, nature, or the kids…and never ever let it go. I am so lucky to have found a passion so close to my heart in Mini Marathons… I am going to continue “running with it” … and I just don’t think I am EVER going to let go.