This is our fourth year with Dance Marathon. I can't even begin to express my appreciation to all of the students that give their time and go above and beyond to help kids with disabilities and families. The money that is raised to help the families afford the therapies and equipment make it possible for kids like Johntez to have everything that they need to be successful in their rehabilitation. I personally love to see how happy Johntez is when he is surrounded by the members of his team. It is a joy for me to see him smile and laugh and enjoy life. Our lives revolve around rehabilitation and it's hard to see the daily struggles that Johntez goes through. Being involved in Dance Marathon, I know that we are never alone. I know that if I need some help or support, I can make a phone call or send an email and know that I have a whole team of people that care about Johntez and are willing to help at a moments notice. The caring and love that is shown through Dance Marathon to all the kids and their families is very much appreciated. Overall Dance Marathon has been a really great experience for me personally. To be surrounded by people who make a big difference and have a positive impact on the lives of kids with disabilities and their families, that alone let's me know that my son and I are a part of something very special.
The Williamson family will be a part of Dance Marathon and the University of Michigan for life. Go Blue!
Dance Marathon has been one of my daughter’s favorite things to do. Amber is 11 and has Down syndrome and ADHD. She loves getting to know her team and going to the different activities. Her favorites are the Charity Ball and the Dance Marathon because she LOVES to dance. She actually gets upset when we have to leave for the night at VictorThon. She would dance all night if we let her. For me, it makes my heart happy to see all of the students making the kids feel special and including them in everything. We are looking forward to our third year participating.
Thanks for all you do!!
Mom to Amazing Amber
Dance Marathon has meant so much to our family. Conner was a 23 week preemie and started going to Beaumont therapy when he was 6 months old. He was just 2 years old the first year we participated in Dance Marathon. We found out about it through the social worker at Beaumont Rehab and thought we would give it a try. Over the years, DMUM has become a part of our lives and something our whole family looks forward to.
He has come a long way in 8 years, but we have a lot of work to do. The things that make his life special and the times that have been the most memorable for him all revolve around Dance Marathon. So, while he doesn't love participating in team sports, he absolutely treasures the opportunity to come to U of M, see the Cube and carve pumpkins.
He might not be able to do extra curricular activities through school as much as he would like, but because of Dance Marathon, he had the opportunity to fly in a 4 seater plane through Dreams and Wings. He has had the amazing experience of climbing to the top of a very big tree during a tree climbing therapy event.
He had the chance to visit a museum on campus with a group of college students and ride around all of U of M on a bus and loved every second of it. This year, he got to eat dinner in one of the cafeteria's on campus. To him, this was a highlight of his year! He gets to do things that his typical peers don’t get to do and for all of those experiences, his life is enriched and for those moments, he feels special and important.
In addition to what Conner gets from all of his experiences with Dance Marathon programs directly, he also benefits greatly from the funds that are raised.
Besides Dreams and Wings and tree climbing, Conner has also participated in groups over the years at Beaumont that receive funding from Dance Marathon, including Little Athletes, Dance, Handwriting, Eye Spy and many more. These groups are great for all kids in pediatric rehab. It gives them a chance to have fun and do a typical activity that is outside of their usual therapy. A child with special needs spends a lot of time in structured therapy and these groups give them a chance to just be a kid. These programs impact kids for years to come.