“I spent 100 out of the 180 days of Kindergarten in the hospital. From all of my visits I have a garbage bag full of hospital bands, I never want one on my wrist again. Although I hate them, they show me to never quit and to keep working for things like Dance Marathon.”
-Veda Largent, UNI DM committee member and cancer survivor.
All of us have reminders of hardships we overcame in our past. Whether is it a box of obituary’s, scars, a flower or the smallest token one can imagine. For some reason we keep them and look at them every once in a while. It shows our strength and helps us to not forget where we have been. Sometimes, they are a reminder for why we do what we do. Veda demonstrated this when she talked to our leadership team last week. She told us that hospital bands are a reminder for why she keeps fighting for the kids. We all need reminders to keep us going and keep us grounded.
On Wednesday, September 13, the UNI Dance Marathon Leadership Team decided to band together for the kids and everyone had the option to place a blank white hospital band on their wrist. That seems so simple, but this hospital band will stay there for 170 days. At the end of the Big Event on March 4, 2017, the miracle kiddos are going to cut these bands off our wrists, symbolizing being even closer to the day when no kiddo has to wear one because of a childhood illness. These hospital bands are a constant reminder for why we dance.
Being a part of Dance Marathon is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort to fundraise for the kids and some days, it is pretty stressful. We are students, we have jobs, we have friends outside of DM. Through all of this busyness, we sometimes need a reminder for why we put ourselves through the high levels of stress. We need to be reminded to live “Everyday FTK” and to think of all the kiddos still being treated in the hospital for various life threatening illnesses.
These bands are not comfortable; I find it digging into my skin, sliding to a weird location and itching my wrist often. However, I would take wearing this band for life over losing another child. I would take wearing this band for life over finding out another child is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, vanishing white matter disease, stage 4 neuroblastoma, ewing’s sarcoma or congenital central hypoventilation syndrome. That list can go on forever but it is a small sample of what our kiddos are currently fighting. It is our job to ensure that they are not fighting alone.
We can cut these bands and give up, but the kids fighting for their lives cannot.
To the dancers and committee members reading this, I urge you to find your reminder for why you are fighting with us. You have the option to give up, but the kiddos do not, so keep working hard and living everyday FTK.
To the donors, community members and supporters reading this, thank you, your impact does not go unnoticed. Your donations and advocacy does wonders for our organization. Ask how you can get more involved and give more to help us help the kids.
To the parents of sick kiddos, we will not stop fighting for you and your child until there are no more sick children.
For the kiddos, keep fighting and show us your strength, we are banding together for you.