Exec Letter: Alyssa Meeker

Homework. Crying. Work. Crying. Stress. Crying. DM. Smiling.

You could say this is a typical week in my life. I know most of you won’t be able to relate to all parts of my week, but if you are reading this, I almost guarantee all of you would say that Dance Marathon leads to smiles and happy tears. We might cry over things like homework and school, but our kiddos cry over things that are so much bigger than us and than we can ever imagine – and sometimes they are so used to the things they go through that they don’t even flinch anymore.

As we finish up our fall semester midterms, we all have a slight sigh of relief. Yes, it is stressful, but just think about it. Every week, you put in about twenty hours of studying, fifteen hours of working, and about forty hours of sleep (so we hope). Our kiddos put in countless hours, days, weeks, months, and even years into their treatment and visits to the hospital. Every day I choose to dedicate a few hours of my day to this great cause – UNI Dance Marathon.

As I spend time with our kiddos at our events, I think about all of the things they go through on a day to day basis. They are the reason I do Dance Marathon. They are the reason a thousand of my closest friends choose to stand for twelve hours. They are the reason we have a goal of $400,000 this year. They are the reason I smile when I look at my news feed and see a post about good news, or tear up when something isn’t going so well.

Looking back on my first year in Dance Marathon, I realize it taught me a small chunk of what I needed to know at the time, or what I know today. There is a kiddo that has gone through multiple relapses and remissions of cancer all before the age of 5. The last time I was in a hospital, I had pneumonia and was released in two hours. Don’t you understand? Our kiddos go through so much, and some are too young to realize that this shouldn’t be their life. That constantly being poked and prodded shouldn’t be their life. But hope is the one thing that keeps them going day after day. We have to have hope just like them. Hope that helps these kiddos get through their roughest days. Hope that one day these kiddos have the ability to have more birthdays, meet the love of their lives, and graduate from college. More laughter. More joy. More love.

By joining Dance Marathon and becoming a dancer, you join something so much bigger than yourselves. You get to hang out with these kiddos and see them laugh, and trust me, once you see that twinkle in their eye, or hear that belly laugh, you forget all your little problems and worries. You see our kiddos, who have been so strong, and gone through so much, have that much joy by spending as little as five minutes with you. You see how big their smiles get when you say you want to go on the inflatables one more time (even though they win every time). You see the love and generosity of a community when that number is revealed. You see the pride and thankfulness on the faces of the families that your time and effort has helped more than you will know.

Register. Dance. Laugh. Cry. This time, it will be tears of happiness and love when you see 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, or to save that paycheck and donate to see more of this happiness and love everyday.

Whatever it is you choose to do, choose this one thing. Choose to live everyday FTK.

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