Standing up to cancer: GRC students raise thousands for pediatric cancer research with dance mini-marathon
Published 11:37 am Monday, January 22, 2018
George Rogers Clark High School students spent half a dozen hours dancing to fight cancer Saturday night.
In the process, the nearly 20 participants in the DanceBlue mini-marathon raised $2,055 for pediatric cancer research.
Starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, participants were on their feet and performed a choreographed dance routine at the top of each hour for six hours.
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All proceeds from DanceBlue are donated to The Golden Matrix Fund, which then supports the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, as well as research done at the Markey Cancer Center.
The fundraising effort has raised nearly $20 million for pediatric cancer research since it was founded in 2006. The full marathon is hosted annually at UK and participants dance for 24 hours — from 8 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The marathon was started in response to requests from Jarrett Mynear, a pediatric cancer patient at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
During the last week of his life in 2002, Jarrett created a list of requests, one of which was to raise funds for improving the Pediatric Oncology Outpatient Clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
DanceBlue was one of the fundraising efforts born from Mynear’s request.
This is the fourth DanceBlue event at GRC.
The local program was spearheaded initially by Kelsey White, a 2013 GRC graduate, who lost her childhood best friend, Courtney Carpenter, to cancer.
Another friend of Courtney’s, Chevi Price, was this year’s program speaker.
Price, a GRC senior, shared how cancer has touched her life — through Courtney’s and her father’s deaths.
However, the Dance Blue cause is closer to Price’s heart because of her own experience at the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic.
“Dance Blue also helps kids that have blood disorders,” Price said. “I am one of those kids that have a blood disorder and a patient at the hematology and oncology pediatric clinic. When I was 24-hours old, it was a fight already for me as a blood clot was on my brain.
“As it was in February 1999, the doctors didn’t know much about my disorder or what to do in that situation as they do now.”
Price said her parents were give two options: surgery to remove the blood clot or allowing the clot to run its course.
“With a quick answer from them, the next thing they knew, the doctors took me into surgery,” she said. “After a long two-hour wait, I was finally out of surgery, the blood clot was out, but the fight wasn’t over.”
Price spent more time in the hospital being treated much like a leukemia patient would, with hundreds of platelet transfusions. She continued needing transfusions until she was three years old. Now, at 18, Price only requires annual check ups to measure he platelets at the clinic.
While Price was not a cancer patient, she said she knows all to well the lifesaving work done at the clinic.
“Cancer is a tough road and path to go on, but somehow people always find a smile while battling it,” she said. “I’m here today smiling and getting to raise money for a cause that has been close to my heart — knowing that I’m fighting for the kids each day with it being cancer or finding out that they have a blood disorder.”
GRC special education teacher Ashleigh Snapp helped coordinate this year’s event, with Price in mind.
“We actually weren’t going to have on this year because there hadn’t been any teacher step up to coordinate it,” she said. “But I promised Chevi last year that I would do it with her again this year. It’s a great cause that is also close to my hear. Chevi is a senior this year, so I wanted to make sure we had the even in honor of her.”
Snap said Price was integral in visiting local businesses to share her story and garner the more than $2,000 in donations. Local businesses contributed donations at various sponsorship levels, which were included on the back of the participants’ T-shirts.
For more information about DanceBlue, visit http://danceblue.org.