What is life without love? What is life without people that care and take care of you? What is life without fighting for what you want? What is life without hope? What is life without planning and looking for your future?
How would your life be if every morning you had to fight to survive?
The last weekend I got the chance to see love with my own eyes. I got the chance to learn about real fights. I got the chance to learn about hope. Last Sunday I participated in The GW Dance Marathon where I had to stay on my feet for twelve hours with the goal of raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At this big event, more than 300 people decided to dance for twelve hours to support kids that can’t do it. More than 300 people decided to accept the challenge. More than 300 people decided that the cause was worth the pain. WE decided that there was no better thing to do on a Saturday that stand for those who can’t. DO IT FOR THE KIDS. That is what we did.
Even if the marathon was intended to help the children at the hospital, I believe it also helped me. I had no idea of what I was doing when I raised my money for the Dance Marathon. I was said that I was changing a life but I didn’t realize it was changing MY life. During that day, not only I danced, ate and had fun with my friends but also I met some of the kids and families that I was indirectly helping. Each family had their moment to share with us the hell they have been living in since they found out their kids had Cancer, leukemia, or even mental disorders. They still wake up every morning wondering if that day is going to be the day that the nightmare ends. But they also wake up with hope and gratitude because their kids are alive. Have you ever been glad just for waking up? Have you ever realized how lucky you are? When I was younger, my mother used to say that she was grateful for the things she had but also for the things she didn’t have. At that time I didn’t realize what she meant. I do now. I do understand that we don’t choose the life we receive and that just the way we could be richer or prettier, we could also be less healthy. We don’t choose the life we receive but we do decide HOW to live. This is something I learned from the kids I met last Saturday. One of the girls has bone cancer and because of that one of her legs had been amputated. That didn’t stop her. That didn’t make her stay in bed. On the contrary, she told us that by the time she was on the hospital, she used to sing to feel better so she decided to perform for us and sang two amazing songs about being stronger. When I finally met her, I discovered she practiced football and was also a great basketball player who won every game we played!! I really didn’t let her win!
Tess and Alexander, two fantastic tweens, also taught me about kindness and hope. This little brothers were diagnostic cerebral palsy by the age of two. After several treatments they increased their mobility and now a days they swim, they have Karate lessons and they also love music. He stayed with the DJ for a few hours and she spoke with everyone just to tell us how grateful she was for what we were doing because we were helping her and her friends. When you do a special thing for others but you don’t expect to receive anything in return and then a ten years old girl approaches, introduces herself and just says “Thank you” when your body is screaming to stop moving, it simply leaves you speechless, happier and stronger.
Everyone deserves a healthy and happy childhood, yes. But those kids made me understand that life is not what you get but what you do with your life. Is not only what life gives you, is what you give to the world. All of them have different diseases but the only thing that took my attention was that they never stopped SMILING. And what could be better than a child’s smile?
At the end of the night we raised $77,402.38!!! It was more than what we expected, more than the goal for that night. Of course, this was my first marathon at GW and I thought that most people had years participating on it so it came to my surprise when one of the leaders of this project told me that its only the second year that this fantastic event is held at GW. I wondered why it took so long for the university to incorporate this type of events but at the same time I’m glad this project would take place every year from now on. Second year, double the dancers, double the money, and double the miracles? Let us hope and believe so.