Campus News

DanceBlue's Sweet 16

Photo of students holding up signs revealing the DanceBlue fundraising total of $1,011,115.49.
DanceBlue participants hold signs to reveal the total fundraising amount. For the first time in its 16 years, DanceBlue was held virtually due to the pandemic. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2021) — Tonight around 8 o'clock, more than 300 students and thousands of spectators gathered around their screens at home to celebrate one of the University of Kentucky's richest traditions. Along with most events this year, DanceBlue had to adapt to a new virtual format for the 2021 marathon. But that didn’t keep them from dancing! With joyful hearts and tired feet, the dancers at the 2021 DanceBlue Marathon pushed through to honor the tireless pursuit of finding the cure for pediatric cancer.

In its 16th year, DanceBlue is ecstatic to reveal its fundraising total of $1,011,115.49. While this is an incredible amount, the students don't focus on how big or small the total is. They instead focus on the way that money can be used to support the children and families battling pediatric cancer in the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

Meagan Wilkins, DanceBlue marketing chair, said “The DanceBlue 2021 Dance Marathon was the first time in DanceBlue’s history that the marathon was virtual. It was also the first time we have ever live-streamed an event and now marks one of the biggest virtual events the University of Kentucky has ever put on. It quite literally made history.

“In this year of so many shutdowns, DanceBlue didn’t stop. That’s because cancer didn’t stop. The 2021 marathon is a direct testament as to what can happen when a group of dedicated individuals band together for a common goal. In this case, that goal was ‘For The Kids.’ I am so proud that even a pandemic did not stop these students from working so hard all year for this goal. It’s truly amazing.”

DanceBlue is UK's largest student-run philanthropy — a yearlong fundraising effort involving thousands of UK students, culminating in a 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon. All of the money raised by DanceBlue goes to the Golden Matrix Fund and cancer research. Since the organization's launch in 2006, DanceBlue has raised more than $18,313,158.92. for the kids, providing financial and emotional support for children and families living with childhood cancer.

DanceBlue students volunteer hundreds of hours with the clinic each year. Since students were unable to visit the clinic in person this year, they got creative and found new ways to selflessly give their time. They engaged with patients and their families through weekly virtual bingo, holiday parties and a pen pal program. And if you were to ask any of the students why, they will simply reply with that one phrase that embodies the DanceBlue mission: "For The Kids."

DanceBlue is the University of Kentucky's 24-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon that benefits the Golden Matrix Fund. The DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Clinic opened its brand new facility in 2017 after a complete renovation funded solely from DanceBlue. For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, please visit www.danceblue.org. Connect with DanceBlue on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danceblue and Twitter at http://twitter.com/UKDanceBlue.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.