Nothing says, “I love you,” quite like a Molly’s Cupcake. To cap off our amazing Dancer Appreciation Week, Dance Marathon wants to say one last thank you, with Molly’s Cupcakes! Head to Molly’s between 3pm-6pm and nosh on a tasty cupcake! Dancers we really appreciate all your hard work and dedication you pour into this organization! So thank you thank you thank you! Remember as you eat your amazing cupcake, that Dance Marathon adores you!
After having a great time at Z’mariks Noodle Cafe yesterday, it is time to get our Dance Marathon bonding on. What is the best movie to watch to insure fun? The answer is obviously SPACE JAM! The movie will be shown today in PPB W10 at 8pm. Make sure to bring all your friends and favorite blanket. We know your “inner child” is going crazy and can’t wait to watch Michael Jordan play hoops with Bugs Bunny.
Dance Marathon takes a lot of time and dedication way beyond the Big Event. Some people ask, “Why would you dance for 24 hours? Don’t your feet hurt? Don’t you get tired?” Of course we all get tired and our bodies will ache, but the reason why we dance is always For The Kids. This phrase is chanted off and on throughout the night as a simple reminder and motivator as we dance our hearts out. Dancers are the heart and soul of this organization, and without dancers, we wouldn’t be able to help the kiddos in all the ways we do. So today, the kiddos have a special thank you for the dancers. If you stop in the T. Anne Cleary Walkway, there will be people passing out hand made thank yous that were created by the kiddos! They also want to help you stay fresh, so there will be free packs of gum. This is just a small gesture to say THANK YOU for all the hard work, long hours, and love you put into Dance Marathon!
Who doesn’t like frozen yogurt? Exactly, that is what I thought. Everyone loves froyo, especially Yotopia. Over the year, Yotopia has been a great help to Dance Marathon and helped us expand our community days. So today we are here to say thank you, to an amazing business who really makes a difference for our organization. Wear your lime green today and stop by Yotopia, nosh on their tasty froyo between 12-5pm, enjoy triple punches on your Yotopia card, and remember to say thank you for all the great things they helped us accomplish!
Lime green, orange, and purple are more than just colors to me.
By Jenny Earl
Entering the ballroom as a first year dancer was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments of my life.
Every corner of the room was filled with lime green, splashed with a variety of other colors intertwined with the crowd.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I sat down on the ground to listen to the executive director introduce the event, I looked around in awe. My gaze was quickly broken with a countdown …3…2…1… “Dancers, on your feet!”
The phrase echoed throughout the room. I stood up and I didn’t sit down until the next night, 24-hours later.
Listening to dozens of families speak about their experiences with cancer — the ups, the downs — dancing on stage along with the DJs, and going from room to room playing games, I was sold.
Then around the 5 a.m. mark, I hit my wall. I was tired. I was sore. I wanted to give up. I’ll admit that I complained — everyone does at some point.
Although I was told that almost every dancer experiences this moment, I never thought that I would one of them. But with a little encouragement from my morale captain, looking up at the technicolor stage and seeing a wave of green jumping up and down in unison, I joined in. Within a few minutes, I was back.
From that point on, whenever I saw anyone look tired or discouraged, I picked up the pace and encouraged them to dance. I didn’t want anyone else to hit a wall like I did.
Finally, the end approached. The room glowed and the last family walked on stage.
Listening to the last family speak, with tears rolling down my face, my decision was made — I would be more than a dancer next year. I knew that Dance Marathon would always be a part of my life.
Nudged by my morale captain to join the leadership team, I turned in an application to become a committee member. I answered the questions on the application honestly, looked for the position I could contribute the most to, and crossed my fingers.
Luckily, I was offered an interview.
In 2011-2012, I was an event committee cabinet member.
Under the leadership of Event Director Lura Carstensen, I began my leadership journey. I helped plan recruitment efforts and entertainment events on campus, attended weekly committee meetings, and helped prepare for and set up the Big Event.
Every weekly meeting I attended strengthened my bond to the organization and increased my admiration for all of those involved.
As a committee member, I wasn’t nearly as busy as chairs or the director. I was simply able to get a taste of leadership, which was exactly what I wanted.
I attended family events, had opportunities to visit kids in the hospital, and interacted with Dance Marathon families. Bonding with my committee, I formed friendships I will never forget. I also learned about the other committees and helped a majority of them during the Big Event.
These are the memories in college that will stick with you forever.
After nearly a year of hard work, I was handed an orange Dance Marathon shirt.
Orange was the color the event committee wore that year.
That colored shirt showed all of the hard work that I put in throughout the year. I hoped that first-year dancers, like I once was, would look to me for support. I loved running around the ballroom fulfilling various tasks and watching the Big Event that we prepared for all year come to life.
That amazing experience made me consider being on leadership again.
A few days after my finishing my first Big Event on leadership as an event committee cabinet member, I turned in an application for a chair position.
Trading in my orange event committee shirt for a purple PR/Marketing committee shirt, I was ready to start the process all over again as the 2012-2013 media relations chair.
Overall, raising money for pediatric oncology, helping families get through difficult times, and making a difference in hundreds of childrens’ lives is the most important job of Dance Marathon.
This isn’t possible without the hard work of thousands of dedicated dancers.
However, if you’re a dancer who wants to be even more involved in the organization like I did, consider joining the 2013-2014 leadership team.
Applications are due on Tuesday, March 12, at 4:30 p.m. in the Center of Student Involvement and LEadership (145 IMU).
Remember, everyone takes their own Dance Marathon path, whether or not your path involves being on leadership is entirely up to you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing red, orange, purple, tie dye, yellow, blue, black, grey, or lime, at the end of the day we’re all “dancers,” sporting lime green together, hoping to make a difference in somebody’s life.
By Jenny Earl
For the final blog post before the Big Event, I decided to string together a screenshot of some of the best stories I’ve read on various dancers’ fundraising pages.
As you all know, everyone has the opportunity to share with others the reason why Dance Marathon means so much to them or why they do what they do.
Therefore, rather than re-telling someone else’s story, I thought I’d let these pictures speak for themselves.
“Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share…
Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences. Open up and share your story; become an inspiration to others. You can make a difference because you matter. You were created with purpose. Live your life with intention, go out there and make a difference by being the difference.”
Here are some of the best stories/quotes I’ve come across so far:
By Sammie Marks
Students at Iowa City West High School take every challenge very seriously.
For the students behind the first ever mini dance marathon, shattering previously held records pushed them to go above and beyond and do what faculty felt was impossible.
And with that challenge in mind, they raised $21, 292.
West students modeled their mini after the University of Iowa’s Big Event with their morale captains, families that captured the hearts of the attendants, food for fueling, a DJ, morale group signs and even the accessories.
Morale captains challenged their peers at West High to raise fifty dollars in order to participate and with their hard work came results: over one hundred and fifty dancers came and showed their support for kiddos with cancer.
In less than three months, 23 West High students and faculty members Paul Breitbach and Jen Secrist joined together to plan and execute their first mini.
Senior student leaders like Michaela Recker and Lauren Larson concentrated on asking friends and family for donations.
Although Larson plans on participating in the Big Event on February 1, raising money for the West High mini didn’t pose any obstacles since she saved up money of her own.
For sophomore Brian Wall, a member of the Event committee as well as a West High alumna, the event reminded him how wonderful our families are.
“The family speakers were extremely personable, eloquent, and moving,” said Walls. “I wish there had been a mini dance marathon at West when we were there!”
Mini dance marathon chair Ali Houselog ’13 explained that while most mini dance marathons take place between November and January, the season technically goes all year round.
“The mini dance marathon program has really taken off this year,” said Houselog. “We have expanded existing minis and added many new schools this year.”
Every year, the mini program has continued to grow and shatter records and this year is no exception.
This year, two schools have each respectively passed the ten thousand dollar mark and with West’s current success, they officially become the highest fundraising mini for UI Dance Marathon.
“The schools seem to have really come together as a community to give everything they have to support the University of Iowa Dance Marathon,” explained Houselog, when asked why the program continues to grow in the way it does.
With a full year of preparation ahead on the schedule for West High, it is inevitable that they will shatter their own record and see their event grow.