Jessica Is Dancing For Her Sister

February 21, 2020
Topics: Donors

Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope

Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope is a ballroom dance competition that raises money for Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. The evening beings with a silent auction, followed by a three-course dinner, and then the ballroom competition. Jessica Foster is one of eight celebrities this year and we asked Jessica a series of questions about her upcoming routine and why she decided to participate in Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope this year.  

We love that you are dancing to honor your sister who was a Riley kid. Can you tell us about your sister and how she impacted your life?

I am all in for this competition because my sister Jenny was a patient at Riley. Jenny, whom we lost at the age of eight, was born with the rare condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta Congenita, or Brittle Bone Syndrome. This genetic disease affects the body’s ability to produce necessary collagen for bones and leads to physical fragility. Jenny was highly intelligent and insightful and wasn’t afraid to offer her time for pediatric research at Riley to help others with this genetic disorder. Jenny’s spirit inspired me from the beginning. My parents were often caring for Jenny, and Jenny cared for me. She was the person I turned to. Because of her courage and radiant love, I learned empathy and a deep desire to give back to others.

You were involved with the Purdue Dance team, however, you are intimated by ballroom dance. How has your training been going? 

Cheering in college and my time with the Purdue Dance Team is so extremely different than ballroom! Dancing with a partner in such a graceful way is quite a bit different so it is challenging to remember the steps.  I am worried about stepping on or running into my partner. Also, having a "pro" partner is scary. Training has been going well and Chris is incredibly kind and patient with me. We have laughed a lot. I have really enjoyed the experience but I am still terrified to be in front of the cameras and perform on the big event night! I just keep reminding myself that this is all for my family, sister, dad, and kids of Riley. It is so so much bigger than me and my embarrassment!

Why should people give back to your cause? 

Sharing my story has opened the door for others to share their personal stories as well. This provides some healing and creates a bond with others that have walked similar paths. This has been hard for me because I am very private but I have enjoyed this experience. It has been good for me.

What has been the most challenging thing so far raising money for Reason to Dance?

Raising money is difficult when people say yes they will support and then you don't see the donation come in. It is hard to continue to follow up and ask and ask again. I am so passionate about the cause but I never want to burden anyone. I want others to feel as passionate about this as I do. Many messages are ignored as well which is hard. Raising money takes a ton of work so when you are working full time, have a family, etc. this is a big challenge to stay on top of everything!

If you would like to vote for Jessica to win Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope please click here.

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

comments powered by Disqus

Browse More Blog Posts

View Blog Posts by Category
Sign up for Riley Blog Emails