With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s beginning to be the time of year where we stop and think about all the wonderful people and aspects of our lives that we are thankful for. Because there are so many moments we can be grateful for, it’s common for us to take these things for granted. One aspect of my college career that has helped me to remember and acknowledge the countless blessings in my life is Dance Marathon! With being a part of the Family Relations Committee (love you FR!!) for my second year now, I have had endless opportunities to realize just how much this life has given me and just how thankful each of us should be for the lives we are living.
SAU Dance Marathon supports 42 families, all of whom have touched our hearts in more ways than we can even begin to explain. Each of these 42 families have experienced the emotional trauma of pediatric illness, and DM is right by their side through it all! Spending time with these families through babysitting, attending sporting events, or hosting seasonal events and “fun nights” has allowed myself as well as many other members of our DM family to truly get to know the families we support.
The smiles, laughs, and crazy chaos we create with these kiddos is not only a blessing to us, but to the kids and families as well. Not only does the fun we have within Dance Marathon serve as “time away” from whatever they are going through, but it creates relationships and unbreakable bonds between our students and families. I often hear stories about SAU alumni inviting a Dance Marathon family to their wedding or celebrations…this is one of the many ways we can recognize the impact our families and DM have on one another!
To me, one of the most beautiful parts of getting to know these families has been recognizing just how strong they truly are. Hearing them share their stories with us is always an honor. One of my favorite parts of hearing the family stories is that they all share a central theme: thankfulness. Regardless of what these families have gone through, are going through, or will be going through, each one of them cherish their blessings and never fail to thank those who have helped them in any way.
To our wonderful families:
The smiles, laughs, and memories SAU Dance Marathon has been able to make with all of you is something we will always hold close to our hearts. Your strength and courage as you take on each day never goes unnoticed. Best of all, your gratefulness towards the blessings in your life reminds us to count our own! Thank you for being a part of our DM family, and thank you for letting SAU DM be a part of yours!
— Rachel Merritt