Goal $400
Total Raised $500

Dance Marathon 20

Cat Gaa

Cat Gaa

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A back massage at the Big Event & lime shoelaces


My Story


Urged by my sorority sisters to sign up for Dance Marathon Ten, DMX, I grudgingly added my name to the list of participants from Alpha Delta Pi. Twenty four hours on my feet with no sleep sounded like anything but fun, but even the tired tootsies and sore knees couldn't keep my heart from bursting with the energy and compassion I felt as we pushed through the final hours. Like many other dancers, I was hooked.

I immediately signed up for the Leadership team, serving as a Morale Captain Assistant, then Morale Captain for Group #1 during the DM Dozen in 2006. My final year, I served as the Media Relations Chair for Lucky 13, spreading the word about the largest student-run philanthropy west of the Mississipi to news outlets across Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. In fact, the Iowa Alumni Magazine quoted me as saying that DM was a life game-changer for me, and that I truly learned the value of compassion through my time at Dance Marathon.

Shortly after finishing my journalism degree, I moved to Seville, Spain to teach English for a year. One year became two and, six years later, I'm still teaching, married to a Spaniard and volunteering. I couldn't imagine living a life that didn't involve service or children, and teaching gives me enough free time to explore other passions - blogging, traveling and trying every single tapas bar in the "Capital de las Tapas." This summer, rather than making an annual visit to my native Chicago, I've decided to dedicate my break to the kids.

I've always been keen on walking the Camino de Santiago, a religious pilgrimage starting all over Europe and ending at the sprawling cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. I'll be walking for 12-14 days from Gijón, Spain by foot, living out of a backpack and staying in local accommodation before reaching Santiago. Pilgrims do the Camino for a number of reasons - religious, self-discovery, for the challenge. I'm walking 250 kilometers For the Kids - for those who have lost their battle, those still fighting anf those who may face childhood cancer. The characteristic conch shell of the pilgrim will be accompanied by the various leis, bracelets and name tags that I've acquired through my four Big Events, from 2004 - 2007.

I've started this donation page in honor of the family Alpha Delta Pi sponsored, the Lees of Evansdale. Kelsey was sponsored by ADPi during the years she was in treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, beginning in 2005-2006 when I was a Morale Captain. At the time, she was only 14 and would suffer various bouts of cancer before passing on December 31st, 2011, just weeks before her 22nd birthday.

Kelsey and I spoke just before she passed away in late 2011, with plans to skype before I returned to Spain just after New Year's. She told me she'd always wanted to visit Spain, and that she thought I was brave for having moved away from home. Turns out, Kelsey is the bravest person I've ever known, and a grueling two-week trek seems like the least I can do to honor her memory and raise awareness for a program that creates miracles for families across Iowa everyday.

Tentative Camino dates: 28th July - 11th August Starting Point: Gijón, Spain Ending point: Santiago de Compostela, Spain

“Our Nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.” – Blaise Pascal

My personal blog: http://sunshineandsiestas.com Kelsey's care page: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/kelseyraelee/patient Follow along on twitter: #caminoFTK

The University of Iowa Dance Marathon

Dance Marathon is a student-run philanthropy dedicated to supporting oncology patients being treated at The University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. It is a year-round organization that culminates with a 24 hour long BIG Event in February. To date, Dance Marathon has raised over $21.5 million dollars for children being treated for cancer.

Gifts to Dance Marathon are made through The University of Iowa Center for Advancement, a nonprofit IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) organization that is structurally separate from The University of Iowa. The University of Iowa Center for Advancement exists solely for the UI's benefit, serving as the preferred channel for private gifts to all areas of the University.

All the best, good health, love and spirit as you walk the Camino in memory and Kelsey and support for kids with cancer! You have a great heart! Will be with you in spirit!
I'm proud of you for donating so much time and energy to people who really need it. I love you.
Cat- So happy for you. Hayley and I lived together in Spain in 2007-2008. This donation is in memory of my brother Johnny who passed last year when he was 33. Walking the camino is also a dream of mine. ¡Buen viaje wapas!
Great cause to walk the Camino!

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