Welcome to CDM 2014!!! On behalf of our entire Executive Board, we are so excited for this amazing event to happen. So now that you’re here, what is CDM and why should you get involved? Let me tell you a little bit about my story and what CDM means to me.
From the time I was about eight years old through my senior year in high school, I was very heavily involved in ballet. I went to classes and rehearsals around five times per week, usually for about four hours or more each time. My acquaintances from ballet class grew into my second family. We were all constantly working towards achieving perfection in the art. While our teachers were amazing and always very supportive, constant evaluation of your body is the inescapable nature of dance. We were always trying to stretch our legs a little longer, reach our arms a little farther, or squeeze in a few extra turns. The harder we pushed each other, the better we would look as a dance company, or so we thought. One of my fellow dancers and best friends fell victim to a very serious illness as a result of the pressure that she was feeling from being in an environment where she was constantly being judged by her body. She was hospitalized at Cincinnati Children’s and was unable to dance with us at all for several months. This was an extremely difficult time for all of us, and it caused us to evaluate what was truly important in our lives. Our dance company felt barren without her, and we realized it would never be the same until she came back. We completely engulfed our friend with love and encouragement. We visited her many times at Children’s and walked on her team in the annual Cincinnati Walks for Kids walk put on by Cincinnati Children’s. As we visited her more and more, I truly got to know her support staff at Cincinnati Children’s. The doctors and nurses were incredibly invested in bringing my friend back to health so that she could follow her passion. My amazing friend was able to recover and return to her passion due to the incredible care and support she received at Children’s. After this life-changing experience, I knew that Cincinnati Children’s was an unbelievably unique place that our city is blessed with.
When I heard about CDM my freshman year at UC, I knew that I had to get involved. 24 hours of dancing? Done. When I arrived I chugged four 5 Hour Energy shots, (I wouldn’t exactly recommend that) and I was ready to go! We were dancing to the top 40s, the Bearcat Band was playing – everyone was pumped! Then the crowd quieted down, and an adorable girl named Peyton approached the stage to tell her story. Her confidence was remarkable, especially considering how young she was and how much she had been through. As she told her story, memories of my past experiences with Cincinnati Children’s and my friend from dance came rushing back. I realized that the experience my friend from dance had at Cincinnati Children’s was not a one-off situation – that was the norm. Every patient at Cincinnati Children’s is treated with amazing support, care, and love from the first step that they take into the Hospital. At that moment, I made a promise to myself that I would do absolutely everything I could to support Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and their patients.
Many people ask why we have a 24 hour dance marathon. Why not a 12 hour dance marathon? Or even just ask people to pledge money for the Hospital? Why go through with this huge event? The answer is this – personal experience. Staying up for 24 hours is not easy. Fighting illness is definitely not easy. By pledging to dance for 24 hours and raise money for Cincinnati Children’s, we are taking one day off of our normal busy lives and devoting it entirely to the Hospital. We are creating an environment where families from the Hospital can come and share their stories. I encourage you to take this opportunity to build friendships with the families. Use their stories as fuel to get you through the night. Bond with the other dancers over our common cause. Put everything you have going on in your life aside for one day in order to get everything you can out of this event. CDM is an unforgettable event. Let your experience at CDM spur supportive energy for the families from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital throughout the whole year. We call the patients from the Hospital Champions because they are winners every day that they survive their illnesses. This is your opportunity to celebrate with the Champions. Take advantage of it. Make the most of it. This is the chance of a lifetime to give lifetime a chance. Thank you for joining our family. See you on the 15th!
For the kids,