A question that I’ve asked myself the last few years has been this, “What does it mean to be truly joyful?”. Sometimes I confuse what true joy is with a feeling of satisfaction from doing well on a test, or a feeling of happiness when someone gives me a word of encouragement. At the end of the day, those feelings fade away in the midst of hardship or disappointment. That’s the difference. Hardship is mandatory when walking through life, so a question to ask yourself is, how are you handling it? Are you living out your days going from one feeling of happiness to the other, sorrowing over the difficulties in life that are continually returning, or are you finding the bright spots in the darkest places? If you’re like me and struggle with this, then I want to invite you to the DanceBlue Clinic where you can learn what true joy means.

The past few years I have had the unique opportunity of volunteering in the DanceBlue Clinic. I think that “unique” is a word that is often overused, however, this experience, in particular, fits the bill. There is no other place in the world that you can walk into where joy is so apparent. The kids that are in the clinic have absolutely no desire to be there. The hectic schedules of parents, grandparents, and siblings are extended with lengthy drives and clinic appointments. There is a great deal of stress and expense when it comes to health and treatment, but even so, joy is apparent in the hearts of these kids. Every day I walk into the clinic, I have the mindset of bringing a smile to one of their faces, but it never fails that they are the ones that do that to me. Every kid displays this in a different way, from competitive spirits playing Xbox games, to creating magnificent Play-doh sculptures. The long stays and difficult treatments never seem to be in the front of their minds.  

This is incredibly encouraging to me and I hope it is to you, too. The fact that something so big and scary like cancer doesn’t hold their minds captive makes me wonder what gets in the way of my joy. What I’ve learned during my time in the clinic is that nothing should.

These kids are in the toughest fight that anyone can experience in a lifetime, but allow joy to rule in their hearts.

The beautiful thing is they want to share that joy with other kids in the clinic. One of the kids even told me that he wanted to be a DanceBlue volunteer when he grew up (following my unrealistic goal of being an astronaut).

The desire of wanting to serve other people despite difficult circumstances is a quality that few possess, but something these kids have. This is what DanceBlue is all about. We raise money and dance to spread joy to kids that do so well encouraging one another. Why not join a cause like that?

The opportunity that myself and the Family Relations team have is so incredible and something that we all cherish. It’s safe to say that over the last few years, I have learned so much more about what it means to live every day with a smile. I want to challenge you to ask yourself the question, what is holding joy back in my life? Then, look at these kids that we are dancing for and learn from them, understanding that their joy is unshakable.