For as long as I can remember, I have loved the University of Kentucky. I have baby pictures in a UK cheerleading outfit, I spent my childhood watching every basketball game, and I would proudly claim UK blue as my favorite color. Fast forward to my high school years and college decision time, UK was always at the top of my list, but not because of the official colors or incredible basketball team. Instead, my decision had everything to do with the love and passion I could evidently see radiating from campus. I love what UK stands for, especially when it involves standing for 24 hours, for the best kids you’ll ever meet. Yes, I love the CATS, the basketball team, and the fun I find in the Big Blue Nation. Out of everything UK has to offer, I love DanceBlue the most.

Coming to UK as a student is intimidating, no matter where you’re from or how long you have claimed yourself as a CATS fan. UK is a large campus, and with that comes large opportunity. As a freshman, I was slightly overwhelmed by all of the different organizations I could join, and I was nervous about finding my place. However, I knew that DanceBlue was a top priority for me. How could it not be? I decided to reach out to some older girls in my sorority that I knew were involved in DanceBlue to see how I could do the same. Everyone I spoke to shared that they wished they would have been involved as a freshman! Although I will support and cherish DanceBlue for as long as I am able, I only have four years to truly be all in. There’s no time to waste! I paired with one of my friends to be a Team Captain my freshman year, and I’ve never looked back.

Serving as a Team Captain was one of the best ways, in my opinion, to dive into DanceBlue. Whether it be running in the 5K, helping my team to fundraise, going canning door to door, or attending the endless spirit point opportunities, I was truly immersed in all things FTK. Lucky for me, my team was filled with the most-hardworking and determined girls I’ve ever known. Every single person that fundraised was given a dancer spot! Being on the dance floor with my team was beyond special, and I do not think I will soon forget the experience. My team started as a group of almost strangers, and now they are my best friends. I absolutely loved my time as a Team Captain, and I met some amazing people along the way. That is one of my favorite parts of DanceBlue: the people.

DanceBlue brings out the most selfless and loving people on campus. These people are full of life, love, and the best dance moves! DanceBlue gives us all a common ground and a place to come back down to Earth. I have found that few things will strengthen an old friendship or build a new one quite like spending 24 hours without sitting or sleeping together. It brings undeniable humility and a fresh outlook on the blessings of life. DanceBlue gives me and many others an outlet to stand up to something that is far too daunting to take on alone. I know that I cannot cure cancer, but I can love someone through it. I can advocate and smile and dance until my feet go numb, all for the kids who just want to live like they deserve. DanceBlue shines a light of hope and encouragement throughout Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? I know I do not want to miss a second!

While I adore the people I have met through DanceBlue, the most important part of the organization is a no-brainer: The Kids! Being with the kids of the clinic during the 2018 marathon filled my heart and changed my life for the better. These kids are the definition of joy despite circumstance. They are fearless even though their diagnosis is scary. They show me and many others that life is truly a gift that should never be taken for granted. When I was their age, I was fortunate to spend my days in a UK cheerleading uniform instead of a hospital gown. DanceBlue gives hope to the kids and their families that they will spend less days in those gowns and more days in sports uniforms, ballerina costumes, play clothes, and first day of school outfits.

As I head into my sophomore year, I am filled to the brim with excitement for DanceBlue 2019. I will be serving on the Family Relations Committee where I will volunteer weekly with the kids. This committee is a perfect fit for me because I am inspired by the tangible effects of the cause. What better way to see the impact of the work of DanceBlue than in the clinic and with the kids!  As a future educator, I love getting my hands dirty and diving headfirst into where my passion lies. I feel no greater joy than when I have the opportunity to serve other people, and that is what DanceBlue is all about.