When asked “Why I Dance” a list of memories run through my mind as if it all happened yesterday.

I have luckily been involved in dance marathons since I was a freshman in high school. At my high school you were not allowed to run a committee until you were a senior, so until then you were a dancer.

My senior year was the year that changed everything. I was a senior chair for the Riley development committee. Not only did I see what it is really like to run a dance marathon for a high school, but also I had the chance to get to know a Riley child and his family. The Riley child was my pen pal for a few months leading up to the marathon. Before our marathon we have a “Because We Care Fair” for all children to come and play, our Riley children typically come as well. This was the first time I met my pen pal in person.

Those few hours set it into perspective and made me realize why I dance. I got to play at our fair with him and his friends and family. During those moments I realized how lucky I was to be able to help run a marathon for these kids.

I had always heard of IUDM because they were always at our marathons. Every year, when I saw them, I knew I wanted to get involved in IUDM. Since my high school dance marathon impacted me, I could not wait to see what my college’s dance marathon could do.

When I got to the marathon at IU I could immediately feel the excitement building as we waited to be let into where the stage was and run on the red carpet. I knew I was in the right place.  I was surrounded by hundreds of my classmates who were just as passionate about Riley Hospital for Children as I was.

It was not until the moments before revealing the total that I realized, yet again, why I dance. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the total, some smiles and some tears. As I looked around I saw the passion and love fill the room one more time. It was a feeling I had not experienced before.

So when I am asked “Why I Dance” I say, because I am passionate for an amazing cause, a cause that I love more than I could explain. I dance for the Riley kids, to give them hope and to help them forget why they need the hospital. I dance because for a weekend IU students come together to forget all outside stress to dance for those who can’t.  

I’m Maddie Malone, and I’m FTK!