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Exec Letter: Alexis Scharfenkamp

I love the holiday season more than the average person. I love the gatherings of loved ones, buying gifts, and watching the same sappy Christmas movies over and over again. I love wearing matching Christmas shirts with my family, singing Christmas songs at the top of my lungs, and putting decorations in every square inch of our little house. Everything about the holiday season makes me feel cheery and warm inside.

However, I also know that the holiday season can bring out the selfishness within us all. I am beyond guilty of it, and I am sure some of you reading this are too. We walk by the Salvation Army buckets without putting in our spare change. We don’t think about all the families that cannot afford to buy a Christmas tree surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents. We ask for the latest technology, expensive name brand clothing, and gorgeous jewelry without a second thought. We ask for and expect luxurious gifts, and we complain when we don’t get gifts that we like.

We forget that we are so incredibly blessed and that love cannot be measured by anything that can fit in a box.

Sure, it is lovely to get your friends and family nice gifts. They absolutely deserve them, and I am not telling you that you shouldn’t give gifts because you should. I’m simply reminding you that the giving shouldn’t stop there.

Right now, at this very moment, there are kiddos who are fighting for their lives.

They are undergoing treatments, taking medications, and worrying about surgeries. There are kids spending their holiday season in the hospital. They aren’t worrying about the latest Xbox or the newest Michael Kors purse; they are worrying about staying alive. They just want to be healthy and at home with their loved ones.

It breaks my heart to know that there are kids who are familiar with the words “chemotherapy” and “biopsy”. The only thing that these kids know is spending their days in hospital beds and depending on special medications to stay alive . They don’t get to do the Christmas activities that I love so much. They don’t get to do any of the “normal” things that we so often take for granted. I had the opportunity to tour the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital about a month ago. I will be the first to tell you that it is a beautiful place. It has state of the art technology and such a skilled staff. It is the best of the best, and I am so proud to say that UNI Dance Marathon helped make that happen. However, we are not done. We won’t stop dancing until childhood illness no longer exists.

Frankly, I have more than enough things in my life to be grateful for. I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, and a closet full of clothes. Although I am guilty of pulling the “poor college student” card, I truly have much more than I need, especially in comparison to the kids that are going to be treated in Iowa City this upcoming year.

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