As a freshmen Cassidy Franklin had no idea at the time her friend, Hospital Chair Sara Stewart, persuaded her to sign up for Dance Marathon, saying that it would make her college experience so meaningful.
To this day Franklin is very thankful to Stewart for convincing her to sign up. While attending her first dancer meeting freshmen year in the basement of the Sheraton, Franklin was in awe and knew Dance Marathon was something she wanted to be a part of.
As a freshmen Franklin was a dancer, became a Morale Captain her sophomore year, and is now the Morale Chair for Hundy as a junior.
Through the years Franklin has met her closest friends and she knows that they will always be there for each other.
She talks about the connection between any Dance Marathon members friends or not, “It’s like we understand each other and it’s just this unspoken bond that I’m so obsessed with. For example, we just helped out a DM leadership alum propose to another DM alum a few weeks ago (What up Tom and Sarah!). I was still in high school when they were captains and we had never met, but without question it’s just like a thing you do. You love each other, you get it, you hug, it’s great!”
Franklin feels as though Dance Marathon has changed her as a person, friend, student, daughter, and even as a dancer.
“I truly believe that any Dance Marathon participant would vow that this experience opens your eyes to how you can make such a huge difference with the littlest gestures, and though you are impacting the lives of others you become a better you at the same time,” she said.
Franklin explains how working with the kiddos has expanded her perspective on life, while watching these kids fight for their lives. She feels as though some of these families have become like her own “adopted” family.Sometimes Franklin even sees them just as much or more than her own family, which is comforting to her, and she knows that if the situation were to be reversed they would be there by her side through the good and bad times of this ugly disease.
Being a part of Dance Marathon has left its mark on many, and Franklin is one of them.
“I feel like because of these kids and the miracles I’ve seen happen I’ve learned to love harder, be happier, and do more. If I can be a part of making it so these kids do get to see what it’s like to fail a test, spend their first paycheck from their first job, be asked out on their first date, wake up on a snow day, or even feel what it’s like to have a first kiss – I’m all in!”