FTK means "For The Kids." This acronym represents all that Dance Marathons and Miracle Networks do, for the kids. UADM uses this as a hashtag, a greeting & goodbye, and a life motto. Here is what "FTK" means to some of our staff members.
I am one of the Morale Color Team Captains for the Yellow team. My partner and I in charge of making sure our color team is prepared for the big event in February, by helping them prepare a themed hour, as well as creating any games for that hour and helping our directors with anything they need. FTK is the reason I continue to push myself within my major. It’s the motivation to keep pursuing my ultimate goal, which is to help kids just like them. UADM has helped me realize how passionate I am with helping others.
Coming to UA, I had no idea what UADM was, but randomly decided to participate as a dancer because it sounded like so much fun and seemed to be for a good cause. Now, 3 years later, I look back at my years of participating gradually getting more and more involved as perhaps one of the most important causes I have ever become a part of. Not only as UADM allowed me to personally help all the children at Children's, but has allowed them all to touch my life. Nothing has ever humanized me and put life more into perspective as has UADM and our amazing Miracle Children's resolve and love for the world. It allows me to give back even a little for children to who, in many ways, we are giving the world. FTK means everything. It is our mission, our passion, and our driving factor. Everything we do is for the kids, everything. Every Chipotle burrito eaten at a spirit night, every admission to a skating night dressed in 80s gear, and every single penny collected via a canning drive is all for the kids. And although everything we do seems small individually, together we commit everything we have for the kids, and it is who we are.
I am the Event Management Director on this year's Dance Marathon staff! I got involved with UADM as Assistant Director of Event Management and the Yellow Team color captain my freshman year, and have loved it ever since. I deal with logistics of UADM throughout the year- scheduling meetings, grounds permits, and other requests. I also work with our awesome Master of Ceremonies, Tommy Scott, and the schedule and details for the main event in the spring. To me, FTK means a bunch of college kids coming together and fighting for kids and families- most of whom we may never actually meet. It means spending your time in college standing for those who can't, and fighting so that the next generation has the opportunity to come to college and dance themselves. Roll Tide & FTK!
Yesterday UADM had a fundraising day called $100 day. We challenged everyone on staff to raise and exceed 100 dollars in just 24 hours! Daunting, as it seemed, everyone was ready to take on the day. Knowing this was not an easy task to accomplish, everyone had to get a little creative. Campus was flooded with tutus and face paint as students collected money through canning, speaking in front of classes and organizations, blowing up social media, selling donuts, and doing pretty much anything to reach their goal. Some of the miracle makers vowed to run a mile for every 5 dollars they raised. Others offered to get pied in the face, FTK. One person even brought their dog around for the day and sold “puppy kisses” for a dollar. The overwhelming support and love UADM was shown yesterday was astounding. Very soon into the day, personal $100 goals were replaced by $200, and then $300. 20 miles turned into 60, and the fundraising day that seemed impossible turned into a day full of miracles. We are proud to announce that just after one day of hard work and dedication from everyone involved, we raised $20,408.91 FTK!!! Roll Miracles Roll…
A huge shout out to our staff members who brought home the gold and raised $50 FTK!
Childhood cancer affects so many of us. Here at UADM, we hold this disease close to our hearts and fight for the kids who can’t. Kaitlin Burnash, a member of the outreach team, spent her summer volunteering with children who have cancer. Check out her inspiring story below!
Childhood cancer was always a cause I've held close to my heart for many years. However, it never meant so much to me until I spent this past summer at Camp Okizu, a camp for children with cancer and their families. When I began my work there this past May, I fully expected to be changed in some way or another but little did I know exactly how much I would indeed change as soon as I made my way through the green gates to a place I now consider home. I had the privilege of working alongside some of the most resilient, hard working, loving, dedicated, compassionate, and selfless co-counselors on the planet, all who had overcome and triumphed over more in the first twenty or so years of their lives than I could comprehend or imagine.
On the surface, there is nothing extraordinary about Camp Okizu. It is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas on 500 acres that include rolling hillsides, an archery range, sturdy cabins, a lake, and miles of gorgeous hiking trails. But it is truly the most magical, special, and wonderful place I have ever been to. The moments of magic occur at mealtime where we all get to share our stories, our pasts, dance, and laugh together. At nighttime looking straight up at the stars with my cabin groups. And on our last day of camp when we honored and remembered all those who could not be with us today but who live on in our hearts and truly solidified the family we had become.
I spent the summer working with eight to ten year old girls, some of the most beautiful little girls I had ever known. All of them carried cancer's scars whether it was their shaved heads, physical limitations from brain tumors and neuroblastomas, scars from incisions, or a multitude of psychological scars. Yet each one of them had a tremendous capacity for love, complete faith that cancer was part of God's journey for them, and more joy for life than anyone I had ever met. On the last day of each camp session, we all got the opportunity to share our cancer stories and I had some of my girls share their experiences of being in the hospital for more than four months or watching their siblings pass away before their eyes. Others shared about dear friends who they used to go to camp with but who were no longer with us but who were some of the most loving and so selfless people they had ever met that they wanted to ensure they would never be forgotten. And it was in these moments that I truly realized how insignificant my own stresses or worries were and how fleeting life can be. Their ability to take all the bad in their life and face life with so much joy, courage, and optimism inspires me to this day. In this one summer I truly learned that in saving others you are indeed saving yourself in ways you cannot even comprehend.