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Kids Can't Wait Carnival 2024

By: Mallory Roadruck

On Sunday, April 14th, committees gathered on the grassy lawn at Fee Fields.  Sounds of laughter complemented the upbeat music while attendees bounced on the rubber bounce house, threw water balloons, and blew bubbles. Families and friends enjoyed pizza and conversed with those they have bonded with through IU Dance Marathon, all coming together on a sunny weekend afternoon. 

Indiana University Dance Marathon hosted the second annual “Kids Can’t Wait Carnival" which promotes the development of strong relationships between the Riley Buddies and the organization in the spring semester.  

From games of pickup basketball, the signature bounce house, and the open lawn that welcomes relaxation and conversation, the carnival offers recreational activities that appeal to the audience of everyone who attends. Since the Riley Buddies range in age from 2 to 22, it is vital to ensure that everyone feels included.


Mandy Ramey is the mom of Brylee Ramey who is no stranger to IUDM. Mandy often accompanies Brylee at IUDM events such as the carnival and is gratified by the impacts they’ve had on families like theirs.  

“Just keep doing what you're doing,” Mandy said. “I think [IUDM] does a great job in everything you put on, and I think people from Riley want to share their stories and want to help, and you guys give them the outlet to do that.” 

Brylee, who thrives despite the health tribulations she has faced her whole life, also enjoys events where she can spend time with her buddies.  

“It is just really fun to hang with your buddies and also to get closer to them,” Brylee said.  

The carnival is coordinated through the Riley Development Committee whose primary focus is to serve as a liaison between the Riley families and the whole IUDM organization. The planning is done carefully with the relationship and bonding between the members and the families in mind.  

Elise LaSell is the Director of Riley Development (Riley D) for the 2024 marathon. 

“These events mean the world to me,” LaSell said. “I love seeing the smiling faces on the kiddos and parents and their Riley D buddies having a fun day together.” 

Events such as the carnival mean more to her than just spending time outside with her friends. They allow for one-on-one interaction between the Riley buddies, supporting the foundation of an essential relationship for both parties.   

“Being able to have one-on-one interactions with the buddies through our Riley Development, Riley D, buddy pairs is so rewarding,” LaSell said. “I know it has changed all 60 of us on Riley D’s outlook on life for the better, and all our buddies are rays of sunshine in our lives.”

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