I know a blog post this late on a Sunday is a little unconventional, to say the least. But I feel the need to share with you why I have been pretty MIA recently. So with that, I am going to share with you one of the most magical experiences of my college career, if not my entire life.
This weekend, students from Florida State University participated in our annual Dance Marathon, which raises funds for our “local” Children’s Miracle Network hospital (for us, it’s Shands Hospital in Gainesville) as well as for FSU College of Medicine’s Pediatric Outreach Program.
What’s a Dance Marathon, you ask? Essentially, all of us dancers gather together at the Leon County Civic Center between two 20-hour shifts, where we stand and dance for the entire 20 hours in honor of the children that cannot. “Miracle Families” or families who have children who have either previously received or are currently receiving treatment at a CMN hospital, join students at the event to share their stories and inspire everyone to raise money so kids like theirs can live to fight for one more day. The money raised helps to pay for any number of things from entertainment for hospital-bound children to the actual heart monitors and other vital medical devices/machinery needed to provide their health care.
This weekend, I had the distinct honor of dancing for my second consecutive year FTK (for the kids) and despite the sleep deprivation and aching knees/feet, I know that it is nothing compared to what some children and their families have to endure and it really put into perspective for me just how grateful and appreciative we should be for our health and the wellbeing of our loved ones. This doesn’t apply to just CMN hospitals, as Catholic Health Services sees a variety of patients of different ages that have to endure similar health-related hardships while their families have to adapt to these situations to support their loved ones.
FSU’s Dance Marathon was part of the start of an incredible movement, having been one of the five inaugural collegiate Dance Marathons and celebrating its 20th year this past weekend, marking the occasion by raising a record-setting $1.1 million. Granted we don’t all have the opportunity to participate in a Dance Marathon (though I encourage you to try sometime in your life, even if you volunteer), I encourage you to find you “why”. Why are you inspired to get up in the morning and do the things you do? Who are you doing it for, who inspires you? Whether it’s volunteering at one of CHS’s hospice facilities or being there for your own loved ones, you are capable of changing lives for the better and giving people the hope they need to fight for one more day.