There's a big game in Lexington this weekend, but...

02/24/2017 10:09 AM

The SEC game of the year is this weekend. No. 11 Kentucky (23-5, 13-2) welcomes No. 13 Florida (23-5, 13-2) to town for a battle for the top spot in the conference.

But that’s not the most important event happening this weekend in Lexington. Hear me out.

While fans pack Rupp Arena to cheer on the Cats, nearly 1,000 University of Kentucky students will be preparing to take a stand, for 24 hours straight. From Saturday night at 8 pm until Sunday night at 8 pm, the twelfth annual DanceBlue marathon will take place on the floor of Memorial Coliseum.

What is DanceBlue? It’s a student-run, year-round fundraising effort that culminates into a 24-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon. The money raised goes towards the Golden Matrix Fund, which works to help children who are battling cancer in the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

A lot of technicalities and terms there; simply put, DanceBlue is an organization that supports, loves and gives hope to children who are battling cancer throughout Kentucky.

In its 12-year existence, DanceBlue has raised nearly ten million dollars…all for the kids. This year, because of the money raised by DanceBlue, a brand new clinic has opened that allows the doctors and nurses to provide the kids with better quality care.

It’s an event that brings the entire campus together, including some of UK’s biggest athletes. DanceBlue seemingly falls on the same day as a Kentucky basketball game most years. Usually, after the game, some of the players will stop by to visit the students and let them know of the good work they are doing. Yes, that includes Coach Calipari, as well as players from other UK sports like football and volleyball, even Dicky V even made an appearance once.

I attended the University of Kentucky from 2012-2016 and was fortunate enough to be involved with DanceBlue all four years. The impact this organization has had on me has been tremendous. It has opened my eyes to the harsh realities that so many families face on a daily basis. It taught me to never take a single day for granted, rather make the most of the opportunities I have been provided. By being involved with an organization like DanceBlue, you become part of something bigger than yourself.

The spirit surrounding this organization is infectious. From the committee members to the participants, the energy and joy radiate throughout Memorial, no matter how late it is in the night. Remember, the participants stay on their feet for 24 hours straight as a symbol of the pain these kids go through with their treatment and daily struggles with cancer. This sends the kids and their families a powerful message; “We are here and we aren’t going anywhere until cancer is defeated.”

Big Blue Nation, I ask that you not only cheer on the Wildcats in Rupp Arena this weekend but that you also cheer on the Wildcats in Memorial Coliseum. They stand and fight for a cause that has affected many of our lives. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and we all know the hardship and struggles they have faced or are still facing. DanceBlue works to ensure better lives for kids who are struggling with cancer throughout the commonwealth.

Courtesy: DanceBlue

DanceBlue is open to the public. At the top of every hour, the students will perform a line dance, consisting of different songs. It is quite a sight to see. If you feel so inclined to donate to DanceBlue, you can visit danceblue.org and follow the donate tab. You can also donate on-site at Memorial Coliseum during the marathon. Thank you again for taking some time to read this post. I hope to see you at Memorial this weekend!

Clayton Abernathy

Clayton is a Producer for Spectrum News. He graduated with a Journalism degree from the University of Kentucky and he lives and breathes UK Basketball, making him the perfect fit to produce KSTV. That’s Kentucky’s only nightly half-hour show dedicated solely to UK sports. You can watch it weeknights at 7:30 and 11 on Spectrum News or anytime with Spectrum On Demand. Follow Clayton on twitter @ClaySTV1 to stay updated on the latest UK Basketball and recruiting news or to follow his amateur competitive eating endeavors. He once ate thirteen cheese Coney hot dogs in one sitting…on his lunch break.

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