AS: I'm a senior, and I've done it twice already!
SM: Why do you participate in the 24 hour Dance Marathon?
AS: Oh gosh, there are like a bunch of reasons. I think the main one is that the UNC Dance Marathon marks the peak of our efforts. At the end of the Marathon, you get to see the culmination of all that you have done for the cause over the last year really come to life.
SM: What's your favorite part of the Dance Marathon and why?
AS: The Hedgehogs! Those little cuties come out right when you are feeling that slump of tiredness, and they wake you right up. The line dancing comes in as a close second though.
SM: What motivates you to stand up 24 hours?
AS: One day of struggle is nothing compared to what the patients and families endure, so to stand for one day means I can show my support.
SM: How you think the Dance Marathon is symbolic of the CFTK mission?
AS: Well first, we get all these students from UNC to raise the money. Yeah it seems like a task, but the value of what they are doing is beyond measure. The $200 goes a long way in helping out our cause and provides a few extra meals, a few extra groceries, or gallons of gas for someone. Additionally, to stand together with like several hundred of your closest friends, is really something unreal. They say it takes a village to support someone or something, well, here we are as an organization, a university, a community, hoping we might get to be someone's village for a little while.
SM: What is your favorite Dance Marathon memory?
AS: My first DM, I invited my friends and a couple people I had just met, to come to the talent show at the end, and they came! My friends and some strangers came to support me, but more importantly the kids and our cause, and it was so amazing. I'm still working on them to actually do the marathon with me, but baby steps.
SM: Why should other students participate in the Marathon and what can they look forward to?
AS: Other students should participate because they get to see how their fundraising efforts and their support impacts the people we serve. Everything comes full circle at the marathon and that is something that we don't often get to see. But they have so many other things to look forward to, like organized midnight snacks, and line dances you wouldn't do otherwise, and committee dances that we work really hard on. But that KCC talent show at the end, that really takes the cake. When we see those kids on stage, singing, or joking, or dancing, or anything really our hearts just melt!
SM: What about the Dance Marathon represents what Carolina stands for in terms of commitment to service and the community?
AS: I kind of touched on this, but Dance Marathon really allows students to exhibit the Carolina Way. It is our chance to show the world that we are a community that does care about our own and that we work hard to support our people, no matter who they are. Standing through the marathon marks our commitment to the patients and families. For me, doing it year after year just strengthens my dedication to support something greater than myself and to learn about the ways that I can support others.
Dance Marathon can be intimidating, and in the end, you can go back to your everyday life, but you also have gained so much of an appreciation for the commitment the patients and families have and their hardships. You've seen how your fundraising and how an organization such as CFTK impacts our community, and you've likely just spent 24 hours with a neon fanny pack, which you do grow to appreciate and will pull back out again next year for the next UNC Dance Marathon. I guess it's up to each dancer what the Marathon means to them, but no matter what, it is going to mean a whole lot.