Hi hi!! My name is Caitie Kieser and I am a Junior at Hope studying Social Work. Asking me to write only one short blog about Dance Marathon and include every piece that I love and every way I have been impacted would quite literally be impossible. I would need more of a 20 part book series. 🙂
My journey with Dance Marathon started my Freshman year. I am someone who likes to be very involved and coming into college I was determined to sign up for everything, and well, I did. (No, seriously. I signed up for everything.) Dance Marathon just sounded like a dream to me. I hear “24-hour dance party” and I’m there. But there is so much more to Dance Marathon than just dancing and that caused me to miss the most important element to Dance Marathon – the kids. One of my professors once said, “Childhood cancer is a crime”. This is the most accurate description I have heard because he is absolutely right. A crime is described as evil, shameful, and wrong. Cancer robs kids of their childhood and steals the most vulnerable part of them; life.
When I was given the incredible opportunity to be a part of Dream Team, I saw a completely different side of Dance Marathon. My lense shifted because of two little girls named Ella and Libby. Ella and Libby are two of the most joyful girls that I know. Joyful in the way they laugh. Joyful in the way they dance. Joyful in the way they sing. Joyful in the way they live.
The exact opposite of crime is joy.
Ella and Libby were given a 2% chance of survival because of a rare cancer of the eye that they were diagnosed with at birth. These girls experienced a brutal crime and were told they were not going to overcome it, but they both have. Each of the miracle kids and their families have impacted me in the most unique and beautiful way. It is because of programs like Dance Marathon that Ella and Libby are experiencing joy. And it is because of them and so many others that we rally, fight, and dance.
Hope College Dance Marathon has become more than something I signed up for as an eager Freshman – it has become a passion. The linear progression of my story throughout my time here at Hope has been the single most formative experience.There has never been a doubt in my mind that we can make a difference. And we will continue making a difference. We will continue to bring joy.