DanceBlue raises $1 million in sixteenth year with virtual marathon


A screenshot of the Dance Blue final fundraising total from the Facebook Livestream of the Dance Blue Marathon. 

Braden Ramsey

It may have been completely different than the previous 15 years, but when it’s For The Kids, nothing can hold you down.

Despite the world being enveloped in the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year, DanceBlue trudged on with its mission and again surpassed the million dollar plateau in donations for the Golden Matrix fund, which was “established to support the kids of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic both today and well into the future through an endowment,” according to the organization’s website. A portion of the money also supports research at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

“I am extremely proud of everyone involved,” overall chair Allie Holt said afterward. “I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.”

Holt believes the ability to raise such a large amount amidst the chaos showcases the devotion of all of those who contribute toward the event.

“It speaks to the spirit of DanceBlue,” she said. “We are honestly thrilled.”

Programming chair Morgan Thurza echoed Holt’s sentiment.

“It was awesome… it by far exceeded every expectation that I had,” she said. “Could not have asked for a better day… there are not enough words to explain how great it feels.”

One of the biggest things that allowed the marathon to proceed was the prevalence of Zoom and other video technology. Both Thurza and Holt attributed the smooth operation to their tech team, which kept it all running effectively and efficiently throughout the afternoon and evening.

“Our tech chair, Julia [Harris], she’s fantastic. She worked with UK Production these past few weeks to get everything prepared,” Holt said. “We never had any true technical difficulties… we’re thanking our lucky stars for that.”

“We would not have been able to make today possible without them,” Thurza said.

The different format enabled the staff to not only continue some its typical traditions, but gain unique memories as well.

“We were able to teach the line dance… have our celebration hours, celebration of life. It was really awesome to be able to do all of that,” Thurza said. “We were also able to add in new features like the livestream, have people tune in from home. My mom and dad were sending me pictures all day.”

The livestream also helps the organization increase its publicity and raise even more money. Thurza alluded to it sticking around for future editions of the marathon.

“[With the livestream] we’re able to expand our reach and spread our message of what we do and who we are for,” Thurza said. “Not just across Kentucky, but the rest of the country… that’s something [we’ll] definitely want to keep in the years to come.”

The number of dancers (333) may have been down from years past, but that doesn’t mean the effort put forward from everyone didn’t match previous marathons. For seniors like Holt, to be on the other side of it with such success brings relief and joy, bur also a sense of appreciation for what they were able to accomplish.

“This year really showed the resiliency of the organization because of the hearts and the love for this cause that all of these students share,” she said. “I always knew it was great… but seeing how this year went and seeing how hard everyone worked even though we had no idea what this year was going to look like through most of it really just spoke to the organization and the people behind it.”

“I’m just really grateful that I got to spend four years plus with this organization in my college experience.”