DanceBlue celebrated its 12th-annual 24-hour dance marathon this past weekend, raising nearly $1.8 million “for the kids.” The group’s slogan is just three simple words, but for the DanceBlue community, “for the kids” means everything.
DanceBlue is UK’s largest student-run philanthropy and has raised more than $11.5 million since 2006 in support of cancer patients, their families and cancer research.
Thanks to 12 years of DanceBlue’s fundraising, UK opened the new, state-of-the-art DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic earlier this month. In addition to fundraising, DanceBlue students also volunteer about 1,000 hours in the clinic each year, bringing smiles and laughter to patients and families.
“The students have a real commitment to our patients,” said Dr. Lars Wagner, chief of pediatric hematology and oncology. “They build relationships, then they work hard to raise funds to help support these very kids that they’re getting to know and care for.”
Rachel O’Farrell, a social worker in the DanceBlue Clinic, agreed and said the support patients and their families get from DanceBlue students is invaluable in their treatment journey.
“I think it’s huge to see what it means to patients and families to know that there’s a whole community standing behind them when they’re going through such a difficult experience,” O’Farrell said. “Many of our families feel very lonely, but when you know that there are 900 to 1,000 students dancing and standing for 24 hours to encourage and support your family – I think that holds a lot of meaning.”
Watch the video below to learn more about DanceBlue’s mission and how the group has helped improve cancer care for kids across the Commonwealth.