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Homework. Crying. Reading. Crying. Writing. Crying. Stress. Crying. Yes, this is how we describe finals week. Well, maybe this isn’t how you would describe it but trust me, at least 5 people will agree with this statement (right?). We might cry over homework and school, but the kiddos cry over things that are so much bigger than us and than we can ever imagine. As we finish up our fall semester of college, for some it is your first semester of college ever and for others it is your last, we all have to face finals week. Yes, it is stressful, but just think about it. You put in around 10 hours to write a paper that you should have started three weeks ago, or even three hours to study for an exam where you will never remember the answers after two days, these kiddos put days, months and even years into treatments to cure a life-threatening disease that they will remember for the rest of their lives. These kiddos are the reason I am in Dance Marathon. It is why around a thousand college students gather in the Union for a huge event once a year to dance for the kids. It is why we have a goal of raising $305,000 this year. Everything we do, all the Tangerine Thursdays, all the giveback nights, all the constant spam on Facebook is all FOR THE KIDS. My first year at Dance Marathon taught me that these kiddos have endured through so much more than I can ever imagine in my 21 years of life. There is a kiddo that has gone through 795 days of treatment, 60 port accesses, 20 spinal taps, 12 hospital admissions and 8 blood transfusions, all before the age of 4. The last time I was in a hospital, I was getting my wisdom teeth out and I barely remember anything. Don’t you understand? These kids are enduring through so much, yet hope is the one thing that keeps them going. We have to be joyful in hope just like them. Hope that helps these kiddos through the roughest of days. Hope that helps the families get through those long hospital nights. Hope that the kiddos have more days to have more birthdays. More laughter. More joy. The thing is that this is just one amazing story and we don’t even know the details about their worst days that the kid and family had to endure. By joining Dance Marathon and becoming a dancer, you join something so much bigger than yourselves. You get to hang out with these kids and see them laugh, and trust me, once you see that twinkle in their eye full of joy, you forget all your little problems and worries. You see that even a child who has endured so much can have that much joy by having YOU invest in them that you realize that this is why YOU are in Dance Marathon. Register. Dance. Laugh. Cry. This time, it will be tear of joy from how much these kids mean to you and how strong they are. Maybe it’ll encourage you to write a better paper this week, study a little harder for those finals or to save and donate to see more of this joy every single day.

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