Sadly, everyone has been affected by cancer in some form. From the day I understood what this horrible disease was, I decided that I would fight it once and for all. So, I participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in my community, later becoming its Activities Co-Chair and Event Lead. In these roles, I put on a successful event that celebrated cancer survivors, remembered the loved ones we have lost, and fought back against the disease, while funding cancer research. Naturally, I wanted to continue my involvement in the fight against cancer at UD, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

Now, let me tell you something about myself. Everyone who knows me and ever sees me in any sort of celebratory setting (proms, weddings, even in musicals) says that I’m a really bad dancer. I’ll admit, this is pretty true. And while bad-dancing is exhilarating, my skills – and stamina – typically quit after a simple “Cotton Eye Joe.” As you can imagine, when I first heard about UDance, the University of Delaware’s 12-hour dance marathon, I was very excited but also a bit overwhelmed. To me, a three-hour-long school dance where I was fist pumping and jumping to Kris Kross’s “Jump” seemed like a lot of time and a lot of energy. For weeks, I wondered: “How do the dancers and moralers at UDance keep up their energy for 12 hours straight? Why do they dance?”

Soon enough, the answer came to me. In the fall, Joe McDonough was invited to Redding Hall to tell the residents his story. I could feel the tears falling from my face as he spoke about the passing of his son, Andrew, after his battle with leukemia in 2007. In order to honor Andrew’s life and help other kids (our “B+ Heroes) who are battling childhood cancer, McDonough started the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. The money raised at UDance helps the B+ Foundation directly support the families of our heroes and fund pediatric cancer research. In this moment, I had an epiphany. I thought back to my own experience helping fight cancer with the Relay for Life. I signed up to get involved in UDance immediately.

When we raised $1,701,667.81 on March 13th, when we proudly displayed our “B+ Foundation” gear all year on campus, and when we pledged to be dancers or moralers at the event, we were not doing any of it for the pictures or primarily for our own enjoyment. We did it all FTK (For The Kids) so that one day cancer in every form will be a myth of the past. Oftentimes, when we are busy with our own lives, we forget just how much of an impact we can have on others. But we need to remember that when we are involved in UDance all year, we are making a difference and saving lives. And that is exactly why I dance: for a smile, for a life, for a cure.

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