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This year University of Northern Iowa Dance Marathon is taking a pledge on something we have never done before.

Here on UNI’s campus, our mission is to provide hope and comfort for families with children facing life threatening illness and injury by raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and hosting events that heighten student and community awareness.

Each year UNI Dance Marathon continues to raise the bar and blow our goals out of the water, which is exactly why this year we will be putting our kiddos at the forefront and asking each Dance Marathon member to #ShareYourStory. Hoping take our program to heights we’ve never been before, the stories shared will be from many of our members on and off campus.

Whether it is your first or last year being apart of an organization that is much bigger than yourself, there is a story and a reason behind your involvement. While showcasing our kiddo stories and their strength to fight illness, we also want to acknowledge the dedication of our members and why they dance.

Many Panthers on campus get started with Dance Marathon because they have heard the Big Event is something you do not want to miss. Not only is that extremely accurate, it is also an eye opening experience. During the 12 hour long Big Event, our Miracle Families get the chance to share their story with our 1,200 UNIDM members. During this time, many of them are opening the first chapter to their own story that they didn’t even know existed. As a four year dancer, I’ve always thought, “What’s bringing me back each year? Why have I chosen to spend my time as a college student being a selfless organization leader?”

The answer is simple. It’s For The Kids. Beyond those three words I have created my own story.

For the last 21 years, I have lived a healthy life with very minimal hospital expenses. There are many of us that are in the same boat, but think about the families and the kiddos on the opposite end. Each day I walk to class without my body aching, without having to think about losing my hair, and without my parents having to worry how they are going to pay the bills a horrible disease has costed our family. I want to help end childhood illness because nobody young or old should have to deal with the affects of a life threatening disease.

I challenge you to think about your story. Why do you donate to the Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital? Why do you dance for our 61 Miracle Kiddos? No matter where your support comes from, on behalf of UNIDM, we want YOU to #ShareYourStory.

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