As I type, it's been 48 hours since two thousand Boilermakers stood for those who can't at the Purdue University Dance Marathon. We stood, we danced and we made it through the 18-hour adventure toward a goal; to dream a little bigger, reach a little higher and make a difference in the lives of families who would be lost without the miracles that happen at Riley Hospitals for Children. Not only did we have the privilege and honor to help Riley families everywhere in their fight, but we also got to meet amazing people and create friendships that will last a lifetime.
I'll begin by saying that if you've been on the fence before about becoming involved with Dance Marathon, you should hop off that fence over to the side that will challenge you to be a part of something bigger than yourself. My involvement in Dance Marathon these last four years has changed my life in such profound ways.
I've never been a part of a more moving and eye-opening experience. I think gaining a true appreciation of how lucky we are to live the lives we do is extremely valuable, but Dance Marathon will do so much more than that for you. Over the course of my involvement in Dance Marathon, my fundraising total has increased exponentially every year because I get into competition with myself to make the biggest positive impact I possibly can. I've deepened my involvement by joining the Greek Relations Committee and hope to join the executive team next year. Dance Marathon has given me a profound appreciation for my own life and has also driven me to give up more and more of myself each year to help others. It made me realize the potential that a small, but highly motivated group of caring people has to change lives. More importantly, my involvement in Dance Marathon will continue to allow me to realize that potential in the future.
I think I can speak for everyone that has been affected by Dance Marathon when I say that it has instilled a philanthropic attitude and dedication to service that I'll take with me where ever I go and incorporate into everything I do. Dance Marathon opened up a perspective on life that has fundamentally changed me as a person. It has empowered me and the nearly two thousand people who stood with me for 18 hours with the knowledge that the world is a better place because we were here.
Dance Marathon has also given me a family I never thought I would have. I share a bond with everyone that I danced with last month. After seeing the final total after those 18 long hours, we all realized how truly important each and every one of us was to reaching our goal. Every single one of us, from the executive board to the individual dancer, had to dream a little bigger to raise the bar from last year. If everyone at the marathon had raised just one less dollar, we wouldn't have broken the record. No one played an insignificant role. Everyone had a hand in making miracles happen that day.
With all that said, words cannot truly describe what Dance Marathon has given me. It has taught me that I can gain the most by giving back. It taught me that one person can change the world. Maybe we can't change the world for everyone, but giving a struggling family the chance to stay together for little while longer is priceless. Being a part of the miracle will change your life, I guarantee it.
So I'll see you at next year's marathon, where I hope to be wearing a black polo shirt as a member of the executive board. I'll only be here for the fall semester, and I can't think of a better way to end my career at Purdue than with sore legs and a full heart.