This past weekend, I had the honor of attending a wagon ceremony at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis!
If you’re a newer reader or just need a refresher, I have been involved in Purdue University Dance Marathon all four years of college. I started out as a committee member as a freshman and got hooked. I was on two more committees until I was selected for the 2015 Exec Board. I ate, breathed, and slept PUDM for a full year as the Public Relations Executive. We raised $100,630.03 in just 24 hours on our second annual Day of Miracles, a day I was extensively involved in both planning and executing.
Overall, PUDM 2015 raised $1,101,297.26. I raised a total of $8,000 through family and friends donating, the generosity of strangers, and doing odd jobs for donations. At just 11 years old, we became the fifth-largest dance marathon program out of 250+ in both the U.S. and Canada! That is a big deal, people!!!
All of the money PUDM raises goes to Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital. I have had the opportunity to tour Riley many times and see firsthand the amazing care that the nurses and doctors give the children. I have also seen the labs on-site where doctors are actively researching a cure for childhood cancer and other deadly illnesses. Riley is also lucky enough to be one of the only hospitals with a Child Life Zone.
Riley was founded in 1924, so with an individual donation of $1,924, you can receive a customized “wagon” with your designed license plate. The patients are driven around the hospital in these wagons. They are actually certified medical equipment which help to hold IVs, transport children unable to walk, etc. More importantly, the kids LOVE riding in these wagons!
Our wagon was released into the fleet on April 16, 2016 by my PUDM advisor from Riley, Sarah Franz, which made the experience extra special since she had been there at exec meetings, our Day of Miracles, and the 2015 marathon.
I am so happy to know that there is a piece of me and my family in Riley, even after I graduate and move on from PUDM and enter the real world. I hope that sick children will enjoy a moment of comfort, however temporary, as they ride in this wagon around the hospital. I hope it gives them a brief bit of their childhood back and puts a smile on their faces. I hope it gives them strength to know that my family and I, PUDM, and people everywhere are fighting alongside them.
“One day, we will dance in celebration; until then, we will dance for a cure.”