Audrey Bowers is a junior English education major and writes "Adult-ish" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Audrey at email@example.com.
This year was Ball State Dance Marathon’s 11th year of fundraising “For The Kids” at Riley Hospital for children and happened to be my second year of fundraising as a member of the Hospitality committee. Dance Marathon is something I love for many reasons. One of these reasons is how the event offers hope in a world that is in desperate need of it.
The event itself features Riley stories, a line dance that is rehearsed throughout the day so that participants can learn it, fundraising, a hypnotist and other special guests, an inspiration room, food, a rave and, of course, the big reveal at the end. Dance Marathon and living for the kids is more than a marathon. It’s a year-round movement and a lifestyle that doesn’t have to end after graduation. The impact and the friends that you will make last far beyond the event in February.
During my free time at the marathon, I spoke with some Riley families. In the family room, I stumbled upon the Faus family. Their son, Bryson, had a life-threatening congenital heart defect as a newborn. Because of Riley Hospital for Children, Bryson is able to have a childhood and lives the life of an ordinary toddler. “Being invited to come back and see Ball State students put so much time and effort in for Riley is amazing … They are selflessly giving to my son,” said his father, Brian Faus.
When college students participate in Dance Marathon, they are not only impacting the hospital as a whole, but are affecting individual lives of Riley kids and their families. Caitlin Faus, his mother, said “It’s humbling to see them do so much.”
After the second meal that Hospitality served, I was humbled to have the chance of speaking with Mickey Deputy, a well known Riley kid and beauty pageant contestant. Meeting her was such a joy because of how willing she was to talk to me about Dance Marathon and because of how inspiring and passionate she is. Speaking with and having a photo taken with her was definitely a highlight of the marathon for me. She is one of the many reasons that I dance. Deputy said Dance Marathon is important to her because “it opens many eyes and hearts.”
Without Dance Marathon, I wouldn’t know about the struggles that Riley kids face on a daily basis, and I wouldn’t realize how lucky I am to live the life that I live. My college experience as a whole wouldn’t be the same without this. In these last two years, I’ve met so many wonderful people and have had my outlook on life changed completely because of Dance Marathon. I’ve been reminded to live life to the fullest, be kind, and to use what I have to make a difference in the lives of others.
Our total was $653,011.23, which was just $20,000 short of our total of $677,000 that we raised last year. To some, this may be a failure since we intended to raise more than we did last year. To me, this is not the case by any means. That’s over half a million dollars that will help fund the Palliative Care Team and The Magic Castle Cart. There will be funding for staff to comfort kids at the end of their lives and toys for children throughout the hospital. That’s a success.
I hope that in the future we will continue to be more than a marathon (which was the organization’s goal for 2018 and consequently an inspirational phrase used throughout the year) and never forget to remember what Dance Marathon is really about.
We may be “poor college students,” but we still have the power to change the world.