DanceBlue raises $834,424.57


Mason, 7, sings to “Break your Heart” during the talent show at DanceBlue on March 3, 2012 in Memorial Coliseum.

By Rachel Aretakis

The time was cut in half, but the enthusiasm was doubled.

Dancers and organizers of DanceBlue 2012 didn’t care they were only dancing for 12 hours. What mattered more was raising money to help children with cancer and their families.

With a grand total of $834,424.57, DanceBlue raised around $160,000 more than last year.

“Just because of the weather, cancer doesn’t stop,” said Madeleine Jung, an arts administration junior who danced for Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

As intense storms whipped across the state Friday, the DanceBlue team announced the 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon would be postponed until 8 a.m. Saturday. It was initially delayed until 10 p.m. on Friday.

Jung, like many other dancers, decided to still stand and dance for the 24 hours, though the marathon was cut short. Organizations such as AOPi and Kappa Kappa Gamma held dance parties throughout the night.

Jung didn’t give in to sitting, even at the beginning when the DanceBlue team gathered dancers to sit. Along with others, she squatted on the ground.

Her attitude reflects that of many dancers who were disappointed they couldn’t dance the full 24 hours. DanceBlue had to make a Facebook announcement telling people to not rally at Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.

Since its inception in 2006, DanceBlue has raised $3.5 million for the Golden Matrix Fund, which goes to the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center.

The clinic helps families whose children have cancer.

“It’s such an amazing program. It all goes straight to the hospital,” said Trey Edwards, a UK junior who was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 8 months old.

Edwards, who danced with his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, spoke in front of other dancers and supporters during Celebration Hour.

Like the children helped by DanceBlue, he also went through treatment at UK’s hospital.

When Edwards was diagnosed, he said he had a 50 percent chance of surviving. He wasn’t even supposed to make it to his second birthday.

But when he was 2 years old, he went into remission.

“There is hope. There is a chance, especially with such a wonderful program,” he said to the crowd. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve grown up to be healthy.”

Edwards said that today, children with Leukemia have about an 85 to 90 percent chance of surviving, which has increased so much because of new technology funded from events like DanceBlue.

“It is about the money. It is about the technology,” Edwards said, but “it’s all about the attitude.”

He said having a positive attitude  makes all the difference when going through treatment and DanceBlue provides support to the children and their families.Edwards wanted the families whose children have cancer to know that like him, their children can grow up healthy.

“This isn’t the end,” he said.

Though most people were upset they couldn’t dance for the first 12 hours, Jung said that attitude didn’t carry over to the marathon.

Throughout the day, hourly themes, such as Rave, Derby and Grand Ol’ Opry, kept dancers motivated. Dancers played American trivia, Family Feud and a life-sized game of Candy Land to pass the time.

At every hour, DanceBlue presented a donation from various organizations, and every three hours dancers ate food catered by local restaurants.

One of the most notable distractions of the day, though, was when the men’s basketball team made a surprise visit. Excitement spread from dancer to dancer as everyone realized the team popped into the 10-minute line dance.

Basketball players, especially Terrence Jones and Eloy Vargas, danced as if they had been there the whole time, getting in to the routine just as much as the veteran dancers.

But as the day wore on, dancers remembered why they were there: For The Kids.

Children and their families joined in on the fun, playing games and dancing with participants. Dancers piggy-backed kids around Memorial Coliseum, let them draw on their faces and helped them with arts and crafts.

“I can’t even put it into words,” said Logan Sparks, the public relations chair, about the success of this year’s DanceBlue. She said the chairs don’t even know the final amount until it is revealed.

In its seventh year, DanceBlue has come a long way.

From 180 to nearly 720 dancers and 30 student organizations to 120, DanceBlue has consistently increased its numbers since the first year. Just from last year alone, the proceeds increased by 23.8 percent.

“When you’re standing up there, and we see those numbers, it makes it all worthwhile,” Sparks said.

“I think we did twice as hard for half as long.”


Golden Matrix Cup — Alpha Gamma Delta sorority

Adopt-A-Family — Kappa Alpha Theta sorority

Ultimate Dancer — La’Rod King

Overall Spirit — ROTC

Morale Cup — Morale Team 12

Small-team fundraising — NAPS

Medium-team fundraising — UK Pre-Pharmacy

Large-team fundraising — Delta Gamma sorority