Students “Ignite the Night” at Holy Cross Dance Marathon 2016

As temperatures plunged outside on Saturday, January 30, at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, the students inside the Hogan Ballroom at the 5th annual Holy Cross Dance Marathon were just getting fired up. They were truly taking the theme, “Ignite the Night”, to heart. I was honored to be able to be a part of such a special night.

The sense of unity and community that the students created in that gym was incredible. Everyone was united for one cause, dedicated to fundraising to support the mission and great work of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, but also having such a great time and enjoying the task at hand. It was a spontaneous, fun night.

The various performances throughout the night kept the room alive, and were a great way to incorporate as many members of the Holy Cross community as possible. On top of that, the quality of the entertainment the performers brought to the stage was top notch.  I was truly impressed and inspired.

The hourly morale dance is something I don't think I will EVER forget! On top of the fact that everyone was dancing at the same time to an awesome song, the choreography was amazing and it was key to keeping everyone energized and going strong, especially as more hours passed.

The highlight of the night, not just for me but for all of the dancers was hearing my fellow EGPAF Ambassador Lucas Courtney speak at the opening of the event. To see living proof of the hard work Elizabeth Glaser put into the world and to hear his honesty about what it is like living with HIV/AIDS was a touching, moving experience. It really drove home the reason we were all there, and why we are passionate and determined in this fight to end AIDS in children.

In the morning at the end of the event, I saw huge smiles on the students' faces, even after having danced for 12 hours. That was probably my favorite part of the whole event. They were exhausted, they were sleep deprived, yet still, they were standing, laughing, and excited to be doing what they were doing. That’s the true spirit of what it means to be UP 4 THE FIGHT for children living with HIV/AIDS around the world.

When all was said and done more than $33,000 was raised to support the lifesaving work that EGPAF does. That’s something truly worth dancing about. 

Interested in learning more about EGPAF UP 4 THE FIGHT Program and how you can start a Dance Marathon event at your school? Contact up4thefight@pedaids.org.