You’ve heard of all the traditions.

From the time I went on my first tour here at UNC, I was told about all kinds of traditions. There were bucket lists for what you should do during your time here at UNC. Things like rushing Franklin and climbing the bell tower. Perhaps the most intriguing was the 24-hour dance marathon.

Yet, it took me until my senior year to participate in this tradition.

Last month, I stood for 24 hours. Whether it was the free food, free ice cream, the performances, the yoga, the UNC basketball game, the 8am rave or just the dancing in general, the dance marathon featured a lot of great moments. But despite all the fun, I knew we were standing for the kids…well at least I thought I knew.

I was told about the benefits Carolina for the Kids (CFTK) has toward children and their families in the UNC children’s hospital. I saw the benefits written on a poster and even pitched the benefits when I went door-to-door canning. I knew we were helping the kids, I knew we were standing for the kids, but the impact of what we were doing didn’t register with me until the last hour of the 24 hour marathon.

The Family Hour.

The children and their families that CFTK had helped took the stage. The parents of the kids told their story and gave emotional thank you’s to CFTK and all it’s volunteers. Suddenly, the pain in my legs was the last thing on my mind. It was the moment I truly felt and realized what we were standing for.

We stood for the kids and families that endured endless hours in the hospital. We stood for people that needed support in more ways than money. We stood for people like my parents.

Back when my first little brother, Eduardo, was younger than 5 years old, my parents had to take Eduardo to UNC hospitals far too often. I won’t get into specifics, but he had numerous medical emergencies and I remember my parents spent a lot of time in the hospital. I was a little under 10 years old, but I could tell my parents were drained both physically and emotionally.

Luckily my brother got through those times and we haven’t had to go back for the same issues again. Knowing my parents went through similar feelings as the families onstage made me even more emotional. CFTK stands for something important and I am glad I was able to participate in it during my time here at UNC. I only wish I participated earlier so that I could have more time to be a part of this.

In the end, CFTK raised a total of $440,955.07 for this year’s fundraiser. All of that for the kids.




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