DanceBlue talent show embodies what the marathon is all about

A patient belts out the UK fight song for the DanceBlue crowd February 18, 2018 in Lexington, Ky.  (Photo by Mark Cornelison /UKphoto)

LEXINGTON--Earlier this month, 900 students at the University of Kentucky took part in the annual DanceBlue marathon, a 24-hour fundraiser for the university's pediatric hematology/oncology clinic.

The dancers get a lot of media coverage, but there's one hour of the event you may not have heard. It is a time that will be long-remembered by those who were there.

Near the end of the celebration, the feet stop moving and all eyes turn to the stage as young patients from the clinic enter for a talent show.

The kids sing, dance and lead cheers. Some of the smallest ones lip-sync to pop songs or hit plastic golf balls into the crowd. And the UK students in the audience treat them like rock stars.

"Because they are rock stars," said Saoirse Lucy, DanceBleu's family events coordinator. "I mean what these kids go through every day it's just absolutely incredible-- the triumphs, the things they have to overcome. They face the harshest realities in life and they deserve to be showcased for something other than their diagnosis."

For these moments, the patients can forget about chemotherapy, blood counts and upcoming surgeries.

When the patients take the stage, they are surrounded by college students who act as their groupies. The talent show brings more cheers than tears, focusing on what patients can do, rather than what they can't do.

After each act, the audience chants: "We dance for you . We dance for you all night long!"

"The support they get... no matter if they're just shooting Nerf guns or running around the stage for a minute or two... they still get the full-on support and it encompasses what the DanceBlue message is," said Lucy.

The college students say this hour really brings it home for them, putting faces to the cause. This year, the marathon brought in more than $1.8 million.

On this day, the patients get trophies, hugs and applause, which may be the best medicine they've had in a long time.


Spirit of the Bluegrass is sponsored by Regency Memory Care.

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