My First Time: Dance Marathon

Pat O'Neil and a friend at Holy Cross Dance Marathon for EGPAF.

Pat O'Neil

Last year, I attended Holy Cross’ first Dance Marathon as a dancer. When I initially signed up for the event, I knew very little about the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and its fight against pediatric AIDS. In fact, a big reason that I signed up for the event at all was to show support for a couple of good friends who organized the event. I went into our school’s ballroom that evening ready to dance for a couple of hours, and then call it a night.

When I arrived there, however, I quickly realized just how special Dance Marathon is to those who are involved in the event. What I had failed to realize prior to the event was that Dance Marathon isn’t about me. Dance Marathon is about the mothers who cry tears of joy when they are told that their children are HIV-negative. Dance Marathon is about the children who will grow up happy and healthy and able to make a difference in this world. I stopped worrying about myself and began fighting for them.

I had never met a group of people who are so passionate about the possibility of losing their jobs until I met individuals who work for EGPAF. They have taught me that eradicating HIV/AIDS from this world is more important than any job they could hold. It takes a special person to realize that sometimes you have to fight for something that is bigger than yourself, and EGPAF is full of these people. I look forward to the day when I can stand with these people and cheer when we see the number that we all want to see next to the statistic, “children infected with HIV:” Zero.

Pat O’Neil is a senior at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.