This weekend, I willingly stayed awake for over 30 hours, standing and dancing for 20 hours without sitting, all for an amazing cause.
From 7pm Friday night until 3pm Saturday, I stood for the 20 hour long “Dance Marathon” at my university to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network and Shand’s Children’s Hospital. Alongside nearly 2,000 of my fellow college students, I stood, danced, laughed, and cried over the 20 hour period to “stand for those who can’t” and raise money for the miracle families who have gone through more than we can ever imagine.
For those of you who have never heard of Dance Marathon, or know people who participated but are still wondering what “DM” and “FTK” mean, here’s a quick run-down:
Dance Marathon Dictionary:
DM – short for Dance Marathon, the name of the event
FTK – “for the kids”, the mantra of the event; we dance and raise money “for the kids”
Dancer – participant who has raised money to dance for one shift
Shifts – DM is made up of two 20-hour shifts, each dancer is assigned to stand and dance for one whole shift (20 hours without sitting or sleeping)
Morale captain – extraordinary dancers who’ve danced before, fallen in love with DM, and now lead the rest of the dancers during the event
Shand’s – one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, and the beneficiary of the funds from the event
Miracle child – the most incredible kids you’ll ever meet; a past or current patient of Shand’s hospital; the kids we dance for
Miracle family – the families of miracle children
Heartbeat gong – huge gong rung every time a dancer raised $100 during the marathon, represents the heartbeats of miracle children
Every hour on the hour, we listened to a story from a miracle family who has a child (or two) who has fought and survived their illness as a patient of Shand’s hospital, and has benefited directly from the money raised at DM.
That’s why we dance.
For the kids. For the families. For more laughs. For more birthdays. For more heartbeats.
I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t easy to stand for 20 hours. It wasn’t easy to keep spirits up as we danced through the early hours of the morning, and as we watched our world go to sleep and wake up again, while we danced on. Our aching feet, sore backs, and tired eyes cannot compare to what these kids have gone through, and continue to go through. Our pain will never compare. So we dance for them.
Dance Marathon was a huge challenge and a hugely humbling experience. It was challenging to raise the money to become a dancer, and it was tough to stick it out during the marathon (especially while I’m still recovering from illness of my own…), but it was also incredibly rewarding.
So what difference can dancing make? More of a difference than you might think. They say college kids are crazy, but when we stand together behind an amazing cause, we can do crazy good things.
DM at FSU is one of the top four of its kind, and we had big goals for this year. Goals to do more. Goals to do more until the day comes when we’ve done enough.
This year, we had our sights set on a goal of $1.7 million dollars for the kids, and we weren’t stopping until we got there.
After the whole weekend, when we finally saw our fundraising total for this year, all the pain, sweat, and soreness were quickly replaced by cheers and tears of pure joy.
I’m proud to say that I was a part of this marathon that crushed our lofty $1.7 million total by raising $1,830,167.83. Go big or go home right? (Or go big and then go home and sleep for 15 hours…)
I also surpassed my own personal fundraising goal, and made my goal of sticking it out and keeping my spirits high during the entire marathon.
My heart is so full. I’m so thankful for all the support from my family and friends, and just proud to have been a part of this event. Today and always, I’m so proud to be a Seminole.
If you’d like to learn more about Dance Marathon, or about the craziness of this weekend, please visit dmfsu.org.