On December 4th, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon hosted our first ever DIH day, or Dancing in our Hearts day. On this day, students, faculty, families, and hospital staff had the opportunity to join a webinar where those in attendance were able to listen to various DIH families and learn their stories. With that, nine DIH families submitted their stories and they were posted on our website.
This day is entirely dedicated to spreading awareness of the fight against pediatric cancer and sharing stories and memories of those who left their legacies behind. At the event, Dr. Veiz, a doctor at the Stead Family Children's Hospital shared how Dance Marathon is involved when a child passes away on the 11th floor. Dr. Veiz explained that when a child passes away there is a room blessing that occurs that allows family members and hospital staff to take the time to reflect and remember the child. The hospital staff also provides the opportunity for jewelry to get made in remembrance of their loved ones. Dr. Viez did explain that with COVID, the end of life care has become more isolating.
At the Big Event there are ways for families, dancers, volunteers, donors and sponsors to take some time and remember those who are not with us anymore. At the Big Event there is a special room dedicated to Dancing in our Hearts kiddos. It is a room filled with love and remembrance. There are many stories and photographs on display all around the room telling the stories of kiddos who lost their fight. The DIH room is a way for them to be remembered and for their story to live on.
Another way we remember those who are Dancing in our Hearts is through the candle that burns bright the entire Big Event in the main lounge. During the Big Event, at any moment, people in attendance are able to look up at the burning light and reflect. Underneath the candle that sits on the balcony is a blanket that contains the names of kiddos who are forever dancing in our hearts. During the Big Event there is a time where the names of those who we remember and honor are read off. We also play a slideshow with pictures of kiddos who have passed away while ‘Angels Among Us’ is played.
We would like to say thank you to these families for allowing us to be apart of your journey and to always know that your kiddos will never be taken from our hearts.
By: Parket Georlett and Jadie Knobbe, Public Relations Committee DM27