Tuesday mornings will always have a special place reserved in my heart. During my junior year of college, I got a call saying I would get to be a part of DanceBlue’s Family Relations committee, and my jaw just about hit the ground. After seeing the magic of DanceBlue the two years prior as a dancer, I couldn’t wait to step foot in the DanceBlue Clinic. There was so much anticipation leading up to my first Tuesday shift, but man, I would have never imagined the happy place I would come to find in the clinic with the lighthouse. These kids never genuinely want to walk through the clinic’s doors because of the difficulties they are facing, yet they are resilient and display strength like nothing else. Through every high and low, these kids hold onto one of the greatest gifts: the gift of hope. They embody the kind of optimism that everyone needs in the most triumphant of times. They’ve taught me that real joy comes in the little moments. The moments spent sitting at a miniature sized table with my knees practically hitting my face with three little girls having a “Barbie party” and chatting about our favorite snacks. The days spent with kids stringing their beads of courage symbolizing every obstacle they had to overcome during treatment. The times we would take as many board games as we could carry to an infusion room, only to play Candyland for two hours straight, or when we would write letters to the hair fairy as a kid’s hair was beginning to fall out from chemotherapy. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life because of the laughter, love, and smiles I experienced every Tuesday morning. These kiddos made me see life through their eyes, which is something I think we could all use a little more.
Every day I sit back and think about the immense privilege I have to serve as DanceBlue’s Family Relations Chair, and my heart swells with so much gratitude. This year has been challenging for everyone, to say the least, but what I have come to learn is that extraordinary things don’t just happen. You make it happen. And that is exactly what DanceBlue, the chair team, and my committee have done this year. Last semester, we soaked in every moment we could get while volunteering from a distance. We may not have been physically in the clinic, but our hearts never skipped a beat when it came to loving on the kids. We wrote to our pen pals, played virtual bingo every week, hosted the spookiest DanceBoo party, and ended the year with the best winter party. This semester the Family Relations Committee is looking forward to all of our pen pal letters, weekly bingo, and parties, including Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick Day, and Spring Fling. This year has been extraordinary in its own way, and I know it will only continue because the mission to serve the kids and families will never change. DanceBlue is and will always be for the kids!