Graduates in the Lime Light
It’s February and freezing. You walk outside wearing only a lime green shirt, athletic shorts, Nike Flyknits, and lime green high socks. You and your friends start running from Burge to the IMU, careful not to slip on the ice. After waiting in a long line to drop off your bag, you finally enter the Main Ballroom. It’s more packed than Blue Route during a blizzard. You’re unsure where to sit until you see one of your captains decked out in tie-dye from head to toe! Rainbow face paint, rainbow, glasses, rainbow hat, and even a tutu. You thought she was weird before, but now you’re certain. Nevertheless, seeing her makes you feel right at home. That one guy who speaks at all the meetings is on stage again. He tells the crowd that our lives are about to be changed; that we will change lives. He says that we are going to change the world. He always makes bold statements like these but something about tonight makes you want to believe him. You’ve heard about the Big Event a million times but you’re still totally clueless as to what’s going on. Before you know it, you’re on your feet. Music starts playing. Countless families are walking in. In their faces you can read the disbelief, excitement, heartache, joy. The entire room is cheering them on; united in hope. You start to wonder if what they say is true.
Maybe we can change the world.
This is how the class of 2021, like many others, began their journey with Dance Marathon. Although our graduates are moving onto the next chapter of their lives, our lime will stay with them.
Here are some of our graduates reflecting on their time in Dance Marathon:
Megan Brokus – Health and Human Physiology Major, Spanish Minor
Throughout her time at Iowa Megan was a Dancer, Lime Captain, and Morale Captain. She had a hard time picking one memory. Some of her favorites she noted were witnessing the $3 million tote board in DM24, being assigned her co-captains both years she spent on the recruitment and retention committee, dancing on stage as a Lime Captain in DM26, and singing Angels Among Us at the end of each big event. Megan said one of the most incredible things she’s gained through her Dance Marathon experience are the many friends she’s made that will be in her life forever
Megan’s plans after college are the attend Clarke University for the next 3 years to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and eventually wants to specialize in oncology to continue supporting cancer patients.
Jillian Blum - Environmental Engineering Major, Sustainability Certificate
After being a Dancer, Jillian spent 2 years on the Recruitment and Retention Committee as the Lime and then Morale Captain for group 45! A number of things came to mind when asked what her favorite memory from DM was. She loved all the family events, especially Adventure Land! Dancing on stage as a Morale Captain was memorable as well as the Polar Vortex Winter Fundraising Challenge in 2019. In January that year Iowa experienced a polar vortex! The university cancelled classes for the first time in over a decade because of the extreme conditions, but that didn't stop Dance Marathon. Days out from the Big Event the organization decided this could be a fun opportunity to fundraise including some winter prizes for Dancers who raised the most in the day! Jillian said her absolute favorite part of DM, however, is kiddo graduation. This is a part of the Big Event every year where kids who are officially 5 years cancer free get to go on stage for their own special graduating ceremony. As a Captain Jill got to watch the kid her group was representing graduate which was a meaningful experience for her.
Jill recently began working towards her Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering here at University of Iowa!
Jacob Hansen - Biomedical Sciences Major
Jacob spent his time working behind the scenes for Dance Marathon. After his time as a Dancer he joined the Creative Committee in taking pictures at various DM events, including the Big Event. For DM27 he was selected to be the Multimedia Chair which gave him the unique opportunity to attend this year's virtual big event in person. Here's what Jacob had to say about his memorable experiences:
"It's not easy to pick a DM memory since this organization has given so, so much. The biggest honor I had being apart of DM was being one of the few people who were able to attend the DM27 Big Event in person. While this year looked so very different, I was happy to be able to keep some of the traditions going just in a virtual format. Additionally, while I was applying to Carver, I was lucky to have my interviewer be a former Morale Captain in one of the first DMs on campus. We shared a connection to medicine and Dance Marathon and I found that very special."
Jacob has recently been accepted into University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine! He will be spending the next four years there beginning this fall.
Shelby Van Fosson - Health and Human Physiology
Shelby was a Lime Captain for DM26 and a member of the Development Committee for DM27. She said that her favorite memory was on Day to DM, our organization's annual fundraising push day, in DM26. This was the first time University of Iowa Dance Marathon introduced a gong that dancers could hit on the stage each time they got a donation. She described what made the day so special to her:
"Our goal was to raise $500,000 that day. At the end of the day, we had a final push and we had people going up to hit the gong for every $10 they raised. It was so amazing to experience the gong going off nonstop, everyone cheering, and the line that wrapped around the room to get to the gong. When we did the final tote board and saw that we raised over $600,000 it was such an amazing feeling to know that I was a part of such an amazing organization."
Shelby's next adventure is becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant!
Dayna Kopecky - Bussiness Leadership and Management Major, Dance Minor
Dayna went from Lime (Dancer) to Red (Morale Captain) to Purple (Development Committee) during her time in Dance Marathon. Reflecting on her experiences she said her favorite memories came from her year as the Morale Captain for group 31. Leading others is something Dayna is passionate about. She said one of the most rewarding experiences was seeing her Dancers at the Big Event and sharing in how proud they were of themselves. In her own words, "Getting to have a hand in helping their love for DM grow was unforgettable!"
Dayna's plans for the future are to move home and open her own dance studio!