Katy Bennett

By

Why I DanceBlue: Ethan's Story

Published: Feb 20, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2013)DanceBlue 2013 is just a few days away and for many UK students, the marathon is not only a way to honor the children and families of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, it is a way for them to honor those that they have lost.

 

In 2008, Ethan Ritter, 2013 DanceBlue overall chair, lost his cousin Zach to cancer. Below is his first-person account of love, loss and how DanceBlue allows him to honor his cousin's memory.

 


 

We were like brothers.

 

My cousin Zachary and I grew up together - literally. His house sits right next to my parents and he and his sisters were my second set of siblings growing up. They were my best friends and fellow troublemakers. We learned to ride bikes without training wheels together and how to sneak to each other’s houses and back without our parents knowing we were gone.

 

Zach was famous for digging huge holes in his backyard; we were all famous for making snow days incredible. During my eighth grade year, my cousin Zachary was diagnosed with cancer. He was 10 years old. A lump on his lower back proved to be alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissues. 

 

When Zach was diagnosed with cancer, we knew things were going to change. The digging of backyard holes was suspended and his baseball glove stayed in his garage for months at a time. For three and a half years we witnessed him fight a disease over which he had no control.

 

It may have stolen his energy, but never his hope and love of life. On Aug. 1, 2008, I said goodbye to Zach for the last time. 

 

It seems like more and more we hear these types of stories. Cancer knows no boundaries, economic or social status; it can affect your child, your neighbor or your best friend.

 

Each spring, for the past seven years, DanceBlue has brought thousands of students together to dance for 24 hours, without sitting or sleeping. We come as a group of individuals, from across the state, the country and the world carrying with us our own stories and experiences. We come from different backgrounds bearing our own views and beliefs, but we stand for one cause - the kids.

 

Our campus’ yearlong efforts support cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center and social support at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology Oncology Clinic. Throughout the year, as a part of DanceBlue’s Adopt-a-Family Program, dancers and teams become connected to the families we serve. We know their faces and names, their hopes and dreams. It is, and always will be, an absolute honor to dance for them and to be part of their story. 

 

So this week, as I begin to break in my “marathon sneakers” and get a few more donations, I remember my cousin Zach and think about kids just like him in a similar situation. I remember his thirst for life and know that so many others are thirsting just the same. I remember what it feels like to be a kid myself and prepare myself to dance without inhibition.

 

For 24 hours we dance for life, for Zach, for Kentucky, for our families, for hope and For The Kids.  

 

The eighth annual DanceBlue dance marathon kicks off at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at Memorial Coliseum on UK's campus and concludes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. DanceBlue is UK’s 24 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that benefits the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncology Clinic. Since its inception in 2006, DanceBlue has raised more than $3.5 million for pediatric cancer research and children with cancer.

 

DanceBlue is a program housed in the Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service. For more information about the CCO, visit getinvolved.uky.edu/cco. Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at twitter.com/ukcco.

 

Give to DanceBlue here and connect with DanceBlue on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danceblue and on Twitter at twitter.com/UKDanceBlue.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, (859) 257-1909

db4.jpgdb_for_uknow.jpg
June
 
 
 
1
 
Wed
2
 
Thu
3
Postdoctoral Research Symposium (Hosted by Society of Postdoctoral Scholars)
Fri
4
 
Sat
5
 
Sun
6
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Mon
7
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
End of the Summer I 2016 Four-Week Intersession
Tue
8
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Wed
9
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
First Day of Classes of the Summer II 2016 Eight-Week Session
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
10
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Fri
11
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Family Day Workshop
Sat
12
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
13
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
14
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
15
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
16
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
17
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Film Screening: Artists on the Body
Fri
18
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sat
19
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
20
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
21
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
22
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
23
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Steve Zahn: One Night Only
Thu
24
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Fri
25
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sat
26
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
27
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
28
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
29
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
30
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
 
 

Repeats every day until Fri Jul 01 2016 .
Mon, 06/27/2016

Repeats every day until Sun Jul 31 2016 .
Mon, 06/27/2016

Repeats every day until Fri Jul 01 2016 .
Tue, 06/28/2016

Reset Page