I was first introduced to the idea of DanceBlue at the age of 14-years-old at West Jessamine High school, only 10 miles down the road from UK. One of my family friends who was a couple years older than me decided to start a mini marathon at our school, so I went to support him and see what it was all about. As soon as I first stepped into that gym, I was hooked. As time went on, I was able to help lead the team and organize the mini marathon my junior and senior years, and my final year I was able to raise one of the numbers that totaled $5,206.37. While all of this was going on, I had the chance to get to know one of my peers that was going through treatments at the DanceBlue clinic at the time. Directly seeing how my efforts were being put to use at a higher level and the impact that the organization was having on her was something that drove my passion for the cause every day. 

The experience I had with my school’s mini marathon greatly shaped how I would begin my college experience. I had always thought about going out of state, so I applied to a lot of different schools. When it came to decision time, the University of Kentucky was the only option with “DanceBlue” on the pro’s list. This was my #1 deciding factor in choosing UK, and once it was official, I had a friend reach out to me and suggested that I apply for DanceBlue Morale committee, and I figured “Why not?” From that point on, I was thrown headfirst into the greatest organization at UK, and immediately given a family of the biggest-hearted students on campus. 

My love for DanceBlue started at a high school, and that is still where a huge part of my heart is. Mini marathons are at preschools, elementary schools, and high schools, and they all have their own version of a marathon. One of my favorite parts is that there are never two minis exactly the same, and you get to see the passion behind each school’s team when you go. In the past year, nearly 40 mini marathons helped to raise collectively over $330,000 that went into the DanceBlue 2019 total. However, it is not all about the money — it is seeing how the experience of standing and dancing with your peers impacts younger students the way I was impacted. With 38 minis planned to happen now until DanceBlue 2020, I cannot wait to see how much incredible work these students pour into this incredible cause. 

Over the winter break, there will be a couple mini marathons taking place at Jessie Clark Middle School here in Lexington and at Rockcastle County High School. Once classes get started up for the spring semester, there will be mini marathons every weekend leading up DanceBlue 2020. 

When it comes to minis, anyone can be a part of the DanceBlue family, no matter the age or where they are located. I have worked with so many incredible students and their advisors that pour themselves into DanceBlue, on top of all the other things going on within their own school. Seeing the next generation of students catch the feeling I did in high school is indescribable, and I cannot wait to see how these students help in finding the cure.