The first time I ever talked to a rep from IU, he mentioned the Indiana Dance Marathon and I instantly wanted to know more. He explained that IUDM supports Riley Childrens Hospital up in Indianapolis and every year, students dance for 36 hours to stand for those who can't (See also Dancy Dance For the Kids of Riley!). It sounded like an absolutely incredible experience to me and was something I really looked forward to about attending Indiana.
Sign up time rolled around and I couldn't wait to be a participant. Finally the time came for IUDM 2013. I participated as part of the Hillel team and was able to meet many new people that not only shared my desire to dance, but also shared my dedication to Judaism, one of the things I hold really important to me.
We arrived at the tennis center, not knowing what to expect, and sat down wondering what our next 18 hours would be like (you have the opportunity to dance either 18 or 36 hours depending on how much you raise.) For weeks we had been hearing FTK (for the kids) and stories about how much IUDM had been one of the best weekends people had ever experienced and we couldn't wait to feel that way too.
Every story about how incredible IUDM was that we heard is true. I have never been more proud to be a part of something. Through out the 18 hours we heard stories from the kids and parents of Riley and every time I was hit with how wonderful this hospital was and how happy I was to have the opportunity to make the lives of these kids just a little bit better.
I'm not the best dancer in the world, but that didn't stop me from jamming out to every throwback song, learning the complicated line dance, or participating in a sing a long, all the while watching how the Riley Kids grinned from ear to ear to see everyone dancing and smiling.
When it was all over and we heard that we had raised 2.6 million dollars FTK, I was prouder than ever to attend this University. Indiana has been an amazing experience so far, but nothing has topped the experience I had at dance marathon. Students come together from many different organization and dance for these kids and it is incredible. No one complains, everyone smiles, and I can't wait to participate again next year.
Sure, it's hard to stay up and on your feet without any sleep or rest. But it is so worth it just to see those kids smiling and to know that you and your school have done something truly amazing.
Until Next Time,
"Don't just dance, move the world."
If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in IUDM, check out these links: