On February 23, after 24 hours of dancing, committee members announced a fundraising total of $1,113,189.42 at the eighth annual DanceBlue dance marathon at Memorial Coliseum.
Several thousand people, including more than 800 student dancers, gathered in anticipation of the “reveal.”
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. DanceBlue also supports pediatric cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center.
Whether participating as a dancer, volunteer, or supporter, DanceBlue is an unforgettable experience. In the last few hours, a family talent show is held featuring children from the clinic, and those who have lost their battle with cancer are remembered in an hour of celebration.
This year’s event included a special gift from a three–time cancer survivor and UK alumna, Joy Wills. She attended DanceBlue in 2012 and was moved to create the Joy R. Wills DanceBlue Endowment Fund – a gift of more than $500,000.
Wills grew up in Eastern Kentucky, in the small community of Egypt. After graduating from Tyner High School, she went on to earn both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from UK. An educator for over 42 years, she served in some of the poorest areas of Louisville. Her attorney, Whitney Dunlap, says of Wills, “Aside from her husband and her faith, there were three things important to her: children, cancer and the University of Kentucky.”
Wills’ gift, combined with the total fundraising from DanceBlue’s eight marathons, has raised more than $5.1 million “for the kids.”