‘Hectic’ and hopeful DanceBlue Blitz Week takes over campus


University of Kentucky students participate in the DanceBlue line dance on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky. DanceBlue is a philanthropic event where students dance for 24 hours straight to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Jacob Eads

They’re dancing for hope. They’re dancing for fun. They’re dancing to set an example. They’re dancing for family members and even complete strangers. They’re dancing for more birthdays. But above all else, they’re dancing for the kids.

After 339 days of fundraising, Monday kicked off DanceBlue Blitz Week on UK’s campus, and everyone who sports a yellow ribbon on their backpack, laptop or water bottle walked a little prouder.

DanceBlue is a year-round fundraiser completely organized and operated by UK students that seeks to raise money in support of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Each year, 365 days of fundraising efforts culminate in a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that takes over UK’s Memorial Coliseum.

Traditionally, Blitz Week marks the last fundraising “hoorah” before the year’s dance marathon.

“It’s kind of that one time on campus where everyone on campus is all gung-ho for DanceBlue,” said DanceBlue Dancer Relations Chair Emily Crouch. “It’s just like that last push we have.”

Each day of the week is specially designed to attract attention to the campus’s fight against pediatric cancer, while also rallying dancers and fundraisers before the last call for donations rings in on Friday.

On Monday, all of those involved in DanceBlue were asked to share why they dance. For many, it’s because they’ve had a front row seat to experience the strain that pediatric cancer puts on children and their families.

Crouch said she dances for her cousin who was diagnosed with cancer as child and died later the same week.

“I think that a lot of people say DanceBlue means hope,” Crouch said. “I see that in a whole different way because DanceBlue brings a lot of what my family never had the opportunity for. We never really had the opportunity to fight, or for her to battle and beat it… So I DanceBlue so that more families will have those birthdays and celebrations that my family will miss out on.”

Others, like Clayton Stovall, say they DanceBlue for the kids who aren’t able to dance themselves.

“I DanceBlue because it’s one of the most altruistic things I’ve ever done,” Stovall said. “To be a part of an organization that has absolutely nothing to do with you… but everything to do with the kids and the joy and the love. I DanceBlue because these kids can’t.”

While it may seem like a lot of yellow ribbons and stickers, all of those who have had a hand in organizing DanceBlue for the last 339 days say that Blitz Week can be expected to be one of the most hectic times of the year.

“Well, it’s pretty hectic,” said DanceBlue committee member Taylor Thamann. “We’ve got lots to plan, lots to do… there’s so much that goes into the marathon that you don’t think about, but that all comes together right here.”

But even if Blitz Week is sometimes dizzying for DanceBlue organizers, they say this week is one of the best weeks of their years.

“For us this is crunch time. This is when the whole spirit of DanceBlue is really blown up and really awesome,” Thamann said.

So for the remainder of Blitz Week, be prepared to see more yellow ribbons than you’ve ever seen, and maybe a proportional amount of smiling dancers.

Here is the remaining DanceBlue Blitz Week schedule:

  • Tuesday: “24 Hours to Donate”
  • Wednesday: “Wear it Wednesday”
  • Thursday:  “DB for 73”
  • Friday: “Fundraising Friday”

The DanceBlue marathon will start 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, and finish 24 hours later, at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.