Dear Dancers, Donors, and People of Dance Marathon,
My name is Liz Thompson, and I am writing to you with immense gratitude. But first, let me explain how you – yes you! – have impacted my life more than you will ever know.
I have been involved with Dance Marathon for many, many years. When I was 19 months old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I was treated here at the University, and after two and a half years of chemotherapy, I finished treatment. It wasn’t until a couple years after that my family attended our first Big Event. From that year on, DM became an incredible source of healing and support for our family. DM created a community in which we have been able to connect with other families and continue processing everything we experienced so early in our lives as a family of four. This in itself is something I could never thank you enough for being a part of.
However, that is not my main purpose for writing this letter. I want to thank you for the Dance Marathon Scholarships that I have received over the past four years. I am 21 now, and a senior here at the U of I. I am majoring in Human Physiology with a minor in Dance, and I plan on continuing to Physician Assistant school in the fall of 2017. This is my fourth year receiving the Dance Marathon Scholarship, something that would not be possible without wonderful people like you. To this date, I have been offered $13,000 from DM to help me pay for tuition. WOW!!! What an incredible gift that has eased my mind about finances and literally gotten me through school! It’s enough to make me tear up as I write this letter, honestly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to provide this scholarship to me. I am eternally grateful for your hard work and generosity – you have supported me in such a huge way, and I can never thank you enough!
In return for such amazing gifts, I promise to give back to DM as much as possible in the years to come. I’ve stayed closely intertwined with the organization, as this is my third year on DM leadership, and I am currently the Event Chair for DM22. But beyond that, when I (eventually) finish school and move into the real world, I promise to continue donating to this beloved organization long after I have provided more donations to DM than I have accepted to pay for school. This seems only fair for such a community that has and will continue to provide love and healing to so many families like mine for years to come. You have my word.
Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. You, as a member or supporter of this community, change lives every day. You have certainly changed mine.