13 Things BuckeyeThon 2013 Taught Me

We’ve all heard it: “For The Kids” or “FTK“. But what exactly does that mean? Kids…okay so that means small humans. For them? Baking for them? Creating games for them? No, it’s so much more than that. BuckeyeThon is Ohio State’s dance marathon that raises money and support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The ultimate goal is to get one step closer to curing childhood cancer – a goal we would all like to see achieved within our lifetime (and hopefully very soon). Dancers participate in a 12-hour session filled with music, dancing, competitions, and cheering for these amazing kids. As a freshman last year, I participated in the 2013 BuckeyeThon. Here are highlights from my experience, and an overview of what the event meant to me.

1. These children are little superheroes.

Not many of us have gone through anything like what these kids are battling. It really is unfathomable to most to even consider fighting such a horrendous disease. But these kids are fighters- superheroes really- and are able to defy many odds. These kids live and fight each day- something that is truly remarkable.

2. The kids impact your life.

Whether or not you personally interact with the kids at BuckeyeThon, your life will be impacted. Seeing first-hand the patients of such horrible diseases will stick with you forever. Your life isn’t impacted in a terribly depressing way though; these Miracle Kids will make you hopeful for a cure, and dedicated to being a part of finding one.

3. You’ll impact their life, too.

You’re there as support for these kids. This is a whirlwind for both parties, and certainly one that won’t be forgotten. Seeing how grateful the kids and their families were to witness all the support from Ohio State students was truly something special.

4. Every dancer is capable of participating for all 12 hours.

Think about it… these kids fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. There are no true breaks until the cancer or disease is gone. You can dance all 12 hours. And I bet you’re going to want to!

5. The power of family is really amazing.

The Miracle Kids are all backed and loved by their families. This love is so obvious and so incredibly strong. The impact that a family has on the spirit of a child is evident.

6. The student body cares…a lot.

This event is evidence that this university is full of students with very caring and loving hearts. The excitement and energy never died. Everyone continued to dance, to wear a smile, and to make an effort to tell the kids that we’re there for them. Having the opportunity to participate in such a tremendous event with my friends and peers was one that I’ll never forget.

7. The community cares, too!

The closing ceremonies and final reveal proved that the community cares a lot about the efforts taken against these horrible diseases. Many community members donate to the cause or come and watch parts of BuckeyeThon. It’s really a collective effort to find cures to these diseases.

8. So what if you’re sleep deprived! You’ll have a blast.

With one of the shifts being held overnight, you won’t be snoozing during your normal sleeping hours. But it’ll be better than catching up on your Zzzs. You’ll be participating with hundreds of your fellow Buckeyes! And you may even experience the sleep-deprived alertness, which can only improve your dance skills.

9. Your friends will keep you going.

Signing up and dancing with your friends makes the experience that much better! And when you are feeling the pain of shin splints or a cramping muscle, they’ll keep you moving! These memories are ones you’ll share forever.

10. There are thousands of reasons to keep hope alive.

Let’s be honest, the news is scary. News headlines make America, and the rest of the world, seem like humanity is crumbling. This dance marathon is proof that there is so much good in the world that is often overshadowed by depressing and dark stories. The patients, the students, and the thousands of dance marathons held all over are reason enough to have hope.

11. Crying in public is 100% acceptable.

The opening and closing ceremonies are emotional. There’s no denying that. Knowing more about the lives and histories of these Miracle Kids will make you tear up- and that is absolutely okay. No one will judge you, because it’s natural to be empathetic.

12. The money you raise makes a difference.

Not every student can go out and raise thousands of dollars for the cause. Even the smallest donations matter and will be used to benefit and support hundreds of Nationwide Children’s Hospital patients. Just by registering and receiving donations, you’re helping save lives!

13.  It’s absolutely worth it.

The experience is worth it. Period. I encourage every student to participate in the event. You’ll add to the fight against these diseases, you’ll make a difference in someone else’s life, and you’ll be forever changed- for the better.

FTK! And Go Bucks!