Hello, my name is Tyler Ward and I am very excited to be serving as the Overall Chairman for DanceBlue 2019! This school year represents DanceBlue’s 14thyear of fundraising and dancing for the kids of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic and whether you have been involved with DanceBlue’s mission for several years or you are just now learning about us, there is a lot to look forward to. Before talking about this year, however, I’d like to highlight just a few of our accomplishments from DanceBlue 2018.

Last year, DanceBlue worked diligently to develop even deeper relationships with the patients and families that we serve every day. We accomplished this by continuing to utilize our new clinic space to its full potential, implementing new clinic programs, and creating more opportunities for DanceBlue students to directly interact with these patients and their families – either through the Adopt-A-Family program, Family Relations Parties, or our clinic volunteers. DanceBlue 2018 also saw the implementation of new initiatives such as an emphasis on crowd engagement at our 24-hour dance marathon, the launch of our very own DanceBlue iOS application, and the opening of a permanent endowment called the UK DanceBlue Distinguished Professorship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. This endowment will provide funding for a full-time pediatric oncology researcher, allowing DanceBlue to further support the search for better treatments, and ultimately, a cure for pediatric cancer.

Moving into the 2018-2019 school year there are a plethora of things that DanceBlue is excited about! Perhaps the biggest news that accompanies this year of fundraising is the opening of DanceBlue’s very own office space within the Center for Student Involvement in the brand-new Bill Gatton Student Center. While students have not been back on campus for very long, you can already tell that our space is helping us to interact with more students than ever before and, as we work to spread our mission to every corner of UK’s campus, my hope is that folks will visit our office frequently to ask questions, to learn more, and to get involved. This new space will also be advantageous for our DanceBlue committee members as it will provide a home base where they can easily work on projects together and build better relationships as team members. Our office hour schedule is designed so that DanceBlue committee members are in the office as often as possible Monday-Friday. DanceBlue wants to get to know all UK students and we encourage everyone to stop by and say hello!

There is no doubt that DanceBlue 2019 will be another fantastic year! My hope for this year is that everyone in the UK community, across the Commonwealth, and across the nation will hear about and join our mission and transform serving the kids into a community effort. At times, I believe there has been a misconception which makes students feel that in order to fundraise or be a part of DanceBlue, you have to be participating as a dancer in our 24-hour dance marathon. But this could not be further from the truth! The reality is that anyone can be an advocate for DanceBlue’s mission and they can do this in a variety of ways. Get involved with our events, host your own fundraisers, tell your friends and family our story.

Imagine if every student at UK raised just $10 For The Kids. What if UK students could then inspire parents and communities far beyond the Bluegrass to also get involved? The UK community could change the world!

DanceBlue’s mission matters because cancer is real and it is nasty and no one, especially a kid, should have to fight through it alone. At DanceBlue we seek to provide hope, support, and joy for the kids and their families and I am thrilled to join each and everyone of you as we work to make DanceBlue 2019 the best year yet!

For any questions, contact Tyler Ward at [email protected] or for more information visit our website www.danceblue.org