As Day 1 ends, DanceBlue draws inspiration from families, children

Dance Blue 2016. Photo by Josh Mott | Staff.

Christina Buswell

“For The Kids” is a chant heard around campus as UK kicks off its 11th annual DanceBlue marathon.

DanceBlue is a 24-hour no siting, no sleeping marathon. All of the money raised by DanceBlue goes to the Golden Matrix Fund, which benefits the Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center.

Students and organizations across campus fundraise year-round in order to participate and said the experience is life changing.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into freshman year … I can honestly say when I left Memorial Coliseum I was an entirely different person,” said Taylor Neville, DanceBlue’s Social Media Coordinator.

Throughout the 24 hours, families and children share their stories. They give insight on the battles they have been fighting and help the hundreds of student dancers to understand who their fundraising is benefiting.

“Seeing the kids with smiles on their faces and the opportunity to just have fun and not worry about anything else in the world made my heart melt, because that is really why we’re here,” Neville said.

Over the years, the UK student body has helped raise over $8.2 million.

The excitement and eagerness to take a stand and dance for a cure is what motivates the participants. Members from Delta Zeta sorority said seeing the children so full of life and joy pushes them to keep their spirits high.

“Standing for 24 hours is the least we can do to help these children overcome some of the toughest moments in their life,” said Kelsey Powell, a member of Delta Zeta sorority.

For individuals and organizations alike, DanceBlue helps to fight for a cause that hits close to home. Students said personal connection makes dancing that much more special.

Each organization is only allotted a certain number of dancers. Due to the size restrictions, each organization competes among itself to get a chance to dance. The friendly competition serves as an example of how dedicated the student body is to take a stand.

As each team fundraises, the DanceBlue committee keeps a running total of everyone’s money. Once the deadline passes for each team to submit their final fundraisings, teams are offered the opportunity to have more dancers based on how much money they donated.

This helps to create a friendly competition among all organizations to fundraise as much money as they possibly can.

While campus is buzzing with competition, students do not lose sight of the reason they are competing. For Powell, she said she will stand for “100 hours if it means the kids are having a good time and given a chance to forget about their pain.”

UK’s DanceBlue marathon continues at Memorial Coliseum as students head into the end of Day 1. With more hours of dancing to go, the children serve as a constant reminder of the event’s significance.