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Wednesday, August 6th marked a big day in the IUDM Family: it was finally 100 days until IUDM 2014. 100 days until we dance in honor of Ryan White. 100 days until we dance to carry on Ashley Louise Crouse’s legacy. 100 days until we dance for the kids who can’t. I woke up with the same goal as everyone else on Wednesday, to raise $100 FTK.  

Paul Lannon (a fellow morale member) and I decided that a good way to raise money would be to offer to do any odd job or anything someone else didn’t want to do for a donation. A friend of mine, Samantha Miller, asked us if we wanted to do a power washing job for one of her neighbors in return for a donation from Samantha’s family. Little did we know, her neighbor has a child being taken care of at Riley Hospital for Children. At this point accepting this job was a no brainer, it would bring us closer to reaching our $100 goal for the day, but more importantly we would be helping a family going through more than we could even imagine.

What we didn’t know at this point was that our power washing job would turn into a fun filled afternoon with one of the nicest, funniest, and most energetic 9 year olds on this planet, Aidan Brown. When we got to the Browns’ the whole “let’s power wash for a donation” idea quickly became the last priority on our list, and we started to become a part of something much bigger and more important than fundraising. When we met Aidan we sat on his stairs and talked about sports for probably 20 minutes until we realized we were just sitting on the stairs and could be on couches in the basement. We (Joe Chitwood and Samantha Miller also were with us) all fell in love with Aidan right away. The four of us just wanted to spend time with him and learn more about his life. One person would power wash while the other three would play xbox and talk with Aidan.

Hanging out with Aidan was an incredible reminder as to why IUDM is so special and what IUDM is really about. Fundraising for IUDM is incredibly important, but when you take a step back and think about why you are dancing and who you are dancing for it always trumps the financial aspect of it. Because of IUDM we were connected with a family whose life isn’t “normal” per say. We were able to give them a normal day. The smiles on Aidan’s face and the energy he had reminded me why I dance. He reminded me why I will stand for 36 hours in 100 days. He reminded me why I will sacrifice my time for this cause. But most of all, he reminded me of the everlasting impact that the IUDM family can have on Riley Kids and their families.

Aidan Brown is a 9 year-old boy with cancer who is being treated at Riley Hospital for Children. He is the biggest sports fan I have ever met and an inspiration to me. When I look back on the 100 day challenge I realize that it wasn’t necessarily about raising $100, it was about coming together as a family to provide hope for families in need. We all came together as one and raised an incredible amount of money all For The Kids. We all came together as one to provide hope and support for the Riley Families. Finally, we all came together as one, and now Aidan has a family supporting him that he doesn’t even know. We dance for the kids who inspire us. We dance for Aidan Brown.

Written by Ryan Cason