For those of us who stand on our feet for 18– or 36 – hours at IUDM, we all have our motivations for going out of our way to register, dedicating our time and effort to fundraise, and staying on our feet way longer than humanly comfortable. During this season of fundraising, I encourage you to reflect on the true reason(s) you commit yourself to IUDM and the kids at Riley Hospital for Children as inspiration to keep you heading towards your goal. I asked a handful of IUDM participants, “Why do you dance?,” and compiled their answers for you here. Read on to refocus on the spirit of Dance Marathon and ready yourself for the quickly dwindling double-digit days we have left until this year’s marathon.

“I dance for my little cousin Megan and all of the other amazing Riley kids!”

“I dance to promote change and inspire others.”

“I dance because of the rewarding experience, and benefitting the children who have gone through more struggles than I can imagine. If I have the opportunity to give back, I am all in!”

“I dance because I love how influential IUDM is on the IU and Bloomington community and because it helps raise money to help sick children and their families get better!”

“I dance because I want to give back to those who need hope and those who might not have a chance to get better.”

“I dance because it is the most joy fulfilling feeling when a bunch of people come together to love for people who they have never met.”

“I dance to make a difference in someone’s life.” 

“The reason I dance is because I was involved in my high school’s dance marathon (which is the biggest high school marathon) and I was really touched year by year with all the love and spirit from students coming together to raise money and awareness for such an incredible cause. I then decided to do IUDM because of how much I loved my high school’s dance marathon. I love to help people and make a difference, and to see a community of students with the same desire as me is why I dance- to make a change for the better.”

“I dance to remind myself of the blessings I have in life and not to take anything for granted.”

“I dance because it’s amazing to see what young people can achieve when we come together. It’s truly powerful.”

“I dance so that the Riley kids know that we’re doing our best to fight alongside them and support them in every way that we can.”

“I dance because I attended Riley as a kid and it was an amazing, amazing place.”

“I dance for others who can’t!”

“I dance for my heroes: the Riley kids. I dance so that they can be the superstars. I dance for the smiles. I dance so that the Riley kids are able to be the superstars that they deserve to be for 36 hours a year. I dance for the families whose children/brothers/sisters know that they have endless support with the troubles they are facing or have faced. I dance for Ashley Crouse and her everlasting legacy that has changed the lives of so many people. I dance for the smile that radiates of Maison Kurmay’s face when he hears his voice booming throughout the Tennis Center. And I dance for whoever is reading this, so you know that I’m here for you too, so that you know others are supporting you, I dance so that I can be a small part of an organization that makes the world a better place.”

No matter the differences that our reasons for dancing may have, everyone in the IU Tennis Center on that momentous November weekend shares one thing in common: we are all there For The Kids, and, for that, we will accomplish amazing things. FTK!

Written by Meredith Baranowski