When people think of dance marathon, they often think its just a bunch of college students wearing bright, colorful clothing, just dancing for a few hours, just raising some money to be donated to a hospital. You could't be more wrong.
This is the truth behind dance marathon:
Its a bunch of college kids wearing colorful clothing. We wear fun tutus, splatter our bodies with paint, make a huge mess with glitter that we will surely find in our rooms for the next few weeks, and go all out with accessories. We do this because color affects the mood in adults and more so in children. When you are about to stand for 12 hours, you need to have fun with it, especially when kids are involved. Having a colorful crowd helps maintain the positive attitude throughout the day and makes the miracle kids feel comfortable and excited to be there. The atmosphere is what helps you push through when all you want to do is lay down and give up.
We dance for a few hours. Yes, our morale leaders teach a 10-minute dance that we learn over the course of the day, but there's so much more to it. It is so incredible that the miracle kids have the opportunity to get out of the hospital and have the energy to move around and DANCE with us! We see them learning the moves with us, a huge smile on their face, knowing that we are doing this for them. Beyond them standing on the stage telling us their story, they get to be in the crowd with us and have a blast dancing and getting to know the people who are dancing for them, and for those who can't. Whenever our feet start throbbing with pain (around hour 7) and we just don't understand how our morale leaders still have so much energy and pep, they turn on the music, we start dancing and we forgot about that pain. We just pull through and keep going. Because those kids didn't have a choice. They couldn't decide to just stop. We won't stop either.
We raise some money to be donated to a hospital. Yeah, its no secret that dance marathon is all about raising money, thats why we pay $5 to lay on a couch or a few bucks to pet puppies. We do everything we can to fundraise including venmo requesting everyone in our contact list, posting embarrassing pictures of ourselves on Facebook, and walking around campus with a jar, collecting whatever spare change people are willing to donate because we know that no donation is insignificant. But we don't just donate the money and forget about it. We meet those families who the money truly impacted. We hear their stories, see their tears, feel their emotion. We cry with them, and applaud their strength and give them the motivation to keep on fighting, knowing that we have their back.
Dance marathon is truly a humbling experience. It opens your eyes to the incredible humanity and selflessness people have. We learn amazing life lessons, from the experience but also from the miracle kids. They are the smartest, most bright kids you will ever meet in your life. We join for the kids, and believe we are making a difference in their lives, but honestly they are the ones changing our lives. I couldn't be more proud of this amazing movement and all the people who put their sweat, blood and tears into this event. Dance marathon 2018, we are waiting for you.