Twelve hours is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. Statistically, most people are awake for almost 16 hours per day. However, most people are sedentary the majority of the day, so when you are on your feet for 12 hours with no opportunity to sit, it definitely starts to feel much longer than it is.

In order to raise money and awareness for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, I danced for 12 hours straight. Now, some people went even farther and did this for 24 hours! However, the pain my feet might have experienced is absolutely nothing in comparison to the struggles that the children and families at Lurie’s experience daily.

It is so easy to take our health and life for granted.

However, there are so many people in our own local communities that are facing their own personal battles. Listening to the stories of the children and families that receive help from Lurie Children’s Hospital reminded me that these are real people that live around me - I’m not raising this money without seeing the effect it has.

Many of us are extremely lucky for all that we have, but materialism and consumerism can blind us from thinking of ourselves as being such. The biggest lesson I learned from this event is that I have so much power in what I choose to do with my money and my time.

Each day, I have the choice to improve the world around me, and I hope I remember that more often.

Additionally, we live in an increasingly jaded society — the news is a constant cycle of horrid, depressing events. People are becoming desensitized to humanity and the human experience. The videos, images, and articles we read all have humans at the center of them, but we don’t really make that connection most of the time.

Humans have the ability to be empathetic and caring towards one another, and I think we should act on that emotion more often than we do.