Dance Marathon's Gift to Our Family
The bedtime prayer our children always recited ended with the phrase, “Help me to be good and kind and generous.” The Riley Dance Marathon program has given all of our children the opportunity to develop each of these qualities. It has taught them that best feelings in life come from giving others hope. That is exactly the gift that DM gives to all!
Let me start at the beginning. Riley Hospital has been part of my entire life. My dad, Dr. George Sorrells, is 78 years old and still practicing pediatrics in Bedford, Ind. We made many stops at the hospital when driving through Indy for our dad to check on patients he had referred there for treatment. My dad spoke the names of Dr. Morrie Green, Dr. Joe Fitzgerald, and Dr. Richard Schreiner with reverence!
Today, my husband Scot is a physician and he sees patients on a daily basis who have benefited from the expertise of Riley. We also have several family friends who have received treatment at Riley due to life-threatening diseases and tragic accidents. We have been incredibly blessed that our children have been healthy and none have required Riley care. It is comforting to hear Scot tell friends during their time of greatest worry that their child is going to Riley. He is often asked, “Would you take your own child there?” and he is able to answer, “Without a doubt!”
Our family’s foray into Dance Marathon began eight years ago during our daughter Megan’s freshman year. She attended the third Bloomington High School South Dance Marathon and was hooked from the beginning. During her junior year, she became the Executive for Riley Development and continued in that position through her senior year. When Katie entered high school, Megan insisted that she become involved too.
Katie served as President of BHSS DM in 2014 when the school broke the $100,000 mark. To this day, when l watch the video documentary of that night and see her reaction when the total is revealed, I tear up. Dance Marathon became a transformative event in her life! Katie is currently a sophomore at Indiana University and serves as the Executive of Marathon Relations of IUDM. We couldn’t be more proud.
And that brings us to Matthew. Katie and Matthew are about as close as a brother and sister can be. He was a sophomore during Katie’s year as president and was one of her greatest supporters! I can still remember him standing on the stage hugging and crying with Katie after the reveal. When Matthew was named President of Bloomington High School South DM, we were all very surprised. Not because we doubted him, but because he is the first male President of South DM!
With just days to go before this year’s Marathon, Matthew is in a state of tension. He knows that any amount raised makes a difference for the children needing care at Riley, but he wants to break last year’s total so badly! He is a machine, constantly making contacts and looking for ways to increase his total. Last weekend he had a crew spreading 15 yards of mulch in our backyard, and organized an event at a local car wash who will donate proceeds to the cause.
Of course, one of Matthew’s biggest supporters is his younger brother Jackson, a freshman. Jackson is continuing the family legacy and is pitching right in! He is about to break the $1,000 mark on his fundraising page. Matthew has really depended on Jackson to increase the level of freshman participation. Jackson is constantly texting his friends to make sure they get involved. He doesn’t want anyone to miss out!
The excitement of our children has been contagious! For years, we have been thinking of ways to raise funds for Riley. I feel incredibly privileged to now be part of the Bloomington Riley Regional Leadership Committee. I have never considered myself a fundraiser, but in this case, it is just so easy to know in my heart there can be no greater use of our extra resources than improving the lives of sick or injured children. How do you say NO to that??!!
Engaging with my children through their Dance Marathon endeavors will likely forever provide me with some of my happiest parenting moments. The high school years are necessarily a time when kids would rather do just about anything other than spend time with their parents. BHSS Dance Marathon has provided countless opportunities for us to work, play and laugh with our four children.
At a time when they could have been out with friends or playing video games in their rooms, our family has spent hours dreaming and planning new ways to inspire others to get involved with an organization that truly changes lives!
Click here to make a gift to Riley through the Bloomington High School South Dance Marathon.
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