Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) recently celebrated Ryan White and Ashley Crouse week in remembrance of the two angels who inspire the community to raise money and dance for an amazing cause.

Beginning on April 8th and ending on April 12th, Indiana University showered its campus in banners, balloons and sidewalk chalk to remind and educate students on the importance of these two heroes.

As some of you may know, IUDM was founded in 1991 in honor of Ryan White and his battle with HIV/AIDS, which he contracted through a contaminated blood transfusion he received to treat hemophilia. Although doctors verified that he posed no risk to other students, he was denied the right to return to class by the Kokomo school district. After a long frightful battle with a misinformed community, Ryan eventually won the right to return to school.

On April 12, 2005, IUDM suffered another loss when their Vice President of Communications on the IUDM Executive Council, Ashley Crouse, passed away from a car accident.  Not only is her legacy carried on through IUDM, but the high school in her hometown Carmel, Indiana, has joined with IUDM to create one of the most successful high school dance marathons in the country.  In order to honor these two admirable individuals, IUDM wears both Ryan and Ashley’s initials on all apparel.

One of the most recognized events of the week is A Walk to Remember in which students gather to commemorate both Ryan in Ashley in a walk throughout campus.  As a powerful symbol of the appreciation IUDM maintains for Ryan and Ashley and a means to help raise awareness for the children at Riley Hospital for Children, the walk is a perfect way to conclude the week’s celebrations.

By: Maria Page