Coming to the University of Oklahoma was an easy choice because I mean who doesn't want to go to a school that is really good at football? Little did I know, the University of Oklahoma means so much more to me than a good football team. I found something that is worth time, effort, blood, sweat and most all tears. Having lived in Norman for the last five years, I always knew about an organization on campus called Soonerthon and I knew I wanted to get involved. I went out on a limb and applied for the executive committee and I didn't think I'd get it, but then I did and I figured out that it means so much more to me than I originally thought.
Soonerthon is a 12-hour dance marathon that raises money for the Children's Hospital in OKC. We work day in and day out to ensure that we are doing all we can to raise as much money as we can for the kids. We work really hard so that we can bring in the best doctors, research, materials, etc. so that the hospital can meet the needs of any kid who walks through the doors regardless of their ability to pay. They work to make sure that kids can stay in the state of Oklahoma and still receive the best care possible.
I originally joined this organization because I'd heard a lot about it and I thought it was a good cause to fight for and I'm not going to lie, I thought it would look good on a resumé. I mean who doesn't want to fight for miracle kids? I got to that very first exec meeting to find out that I was on the ambassador's squad for Soonerthon and I was actually really excited. We got into the first meeting and it was unlike anything else. A miracle family shared their story and all of the vice chairs started to share their whys and I saw how much this cause, these kids and this organization truly meant to the people there that I started searching for my own "why."
I made an instant connection with a little girl named Mattie. She is one of the miracle kids and she is full of so much sass and sweetness despite all that she has been through. It is truly inspiring. Someone who has been through so much has every right to be bitter, but that was not the case. There is not a bitter bone in her body. I got to thinking about why I gravitated towards Soonerthon in the first place and the first thing I thought of was my roommate's little brother, Christopher. He was born with a bunch of health issues and then they actually had to move out of state to Arkansas in order for him to have the best shot at life. They uprooted their family for his survival and he is now almost 9 years old and going strong through everything. He is a miracle child. So this year I am standing, fighting, and dancing for Christopher and Mattie.
I connected with this cause almost immediately and it has made the experience that much more meaningful. We recently just had the "Day of Miracles" where we raised over $163 thousand for the kids in 24 hours. The feeling when those numbers dropped was indescribable. It was shocking and so meaningful. The goal was $135 thousand and we exceeded that by almost $30 thousand! To me, that moment was so pivotal. We had worked so hard all day fundraising and to actually have all that hard work pay off and hit such an amazing goal was just beautiful!
Many organizations on campus require their members to be a part of Soonerthon, but many individuals don't have a why any greater than "we have to be there, it's required." Well, I want to challenge you this year to find your why. Figure out why you are there aside from the requirement. Find out why you choose to stand for the kids. Why are you fundraising for the kids? Why make miracles for the kids? What is your why? Why do you stand up and fight? Make Soonerthon mean more than a required event. Put in the work, find your why, and get ready for the "Day Of" when those numbers drop. It is truly a feeling like no other. We are one generation fighting for the next. One generation inspiring the next. I choose to stand for the kids! What do you stand for?