The college experience entails more than just academics and a social life. During this time period, many students struggle to balance part-time jobs, internships, classes and extracurricular activities. An important aspect that is commonly overlooked is community service. As young adults, establishing a sense of civic duty is vital to a sense of self-worth and to the future welfare of this country. Fortunately for UK students, there is a 24-hour period that rolls around each year and gives students a chance to give back to the community. It’s called DanceBlue, and since 2005 it has raised more than $2,675,000 for the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic.
DanceBlue is a 24-hour dance marathon that benefits the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic and Markey Cancer Center. For more than six years, this yearlong, student-run event has helped children with cancer and their families through the support of the Golden Matrix Fund. The Fund provides:
· professional salary support for those dealing with patients and their families and for neurocognitive patient testing to determine necessary services for therapy-related learning disorders;
· two pediatric oncology social workers, whose positions did not exist prior to DanceBlue, and who provide families with financial assistance through community resources;
· a long-term follow-up clinic to assist survivors with medical care;
· clinical research support and laboratory research in pediatric oncology that makes the latest treatments available.
The unique opportunity to participate in DanceBlue is only available to UK students, both full- and part-time. Through the Adopt-a-Family Program, teams spend time with and get to know a local family affected by childhood cancer. Registered teams of dancers range in size from large organizations of 180+ members to small groups of a few friends. Each sponsored dancer costs $300, plus registration fees. However, because fundraising occurs year-round, this goal is easily attainable. To fundraise, teams can sponsor their own events, fill out pledge books and participate in canning.
For individuals looking to get involved, volunteers are needed for shifts throughout the entire 24-hour marathon. These volunteers staff different stations such as bag check, water and refreshments, etc. Priority placement is given to volunteers who register and turn in the $50 fundraising fee early. Those unable to attend the big event can still help out by making donations to the Golden Matrix Fund. A gift of just $100 receives recognition as a “Friend of DanceBlue,” which includes your acknowledgement on the website, a DanceBlue sign and DanceBlue decal. All donations are tax-exempt.
DanceBlue 2012 will take place in Memorial Coliseum this Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, from 8 p.m. to 8 p.m. Everyone in the UK community should come experience this life-changing event. It is truly inspiring to see not only the immense student support, but also the excitement of the kids and families as well. One thing is certain, the energy and enthusiasm of DanceBlue is easily spread to all who partake and witness it.
Go to www.DanceBlue.org to learn more about the cause and to find out how you can help!