The largest student-run philanthropic event in the South Eastern Conference will kick off Saturday, and this year organizers are hoping they will raise more than $2 million for pediatric cancer research.
During DanceBlue, an annual 24-hour dance marathon at the University of Kentucky, participants must remain on their feet for the entire event with no breaks for sitting or sleeping.
The financial and emotional impact of the annual event was so appreciated by the university’s hospital that they renamed their clinic the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic.
In an interview with TheBlaze, Allee Williams, a senior at the University of Kentucky and the public relations chair of DanceBlue, said that in addition to the fundraiser, participants volunteer at the DanceBlue clinic.
“We know when their chemo is, we know how they’re doing, we know their siblings’ names,” Williams said. “We just try to be there for them.”
Williams said that the student organizers work to make sure the patients at the clinic have a fantastic time.
“The best part of DanceBlue is seeing the families and kids come together with the participants,” Williams said. “It’s better than my birthday. There are over 1,000 people there making sure they have a really good time.”
Williams said that participating in DanceBlue was “the most life-changing, hardest thing I have ever done.”
“It’s really fun,” Williams said. “It’s overwhelming. You are constantly on your feet, involved the whole time.”
During her first DanceBlue, she said that she was tired and struggling to stay awake but seeing the patients “gives you perspective.”
— UK CCO (@UKCCO) February 24, 2016
The 11th annual marathon will feature themed segments, including a “rave hour” and a “clinic patient talent show.”
The 10 previous DanceBlue events have raised more than $8 million for the pediatric cancer research. You can read more about the event on their website.