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Dancing with a Smile

This post was submitted by Mia Stanich for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through childrensmiraclenetworkhospitals.org/guest-post

Just a little bit over one year ago I decided to register for my school’s, University of Oregon, Dance Marathon with no knowledge of the cause only that it sounded like a fun time because I love to dance. Within a month I raised a couple hundred dollars and then the President of UODM personally reached out to me. She told me all about the organization, the cause, and asked me to become a Morale Captain with less than 2 weeks until the big event. I was hooked, saying yes was my immediate reaction and I jumped right into it. I quickly learned the dance routine and was on my feet dancing, just standing, eating, playing games, and of course crying at the end. I can happily say it was the best decision I have made in my college career and now I am currently on the Executive Board as Morale Chair for University of Oregon Dance Marathon.

During this Summer I attended the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference, with three other members from our Executive team, and was able to meet people who are involved with Dance Marathon from all across the U.S. This was such an incredible experience, gaining knowledge to bring back to other members on my exec board, possibly add to our event, and met so many incredible people. And today I am currently getting ready to go on a tour of our local CMN Hospital, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend, with my Morale Captains and see first hand why our donations are important.

What motivates/inspires me to participate, or my “why” is something that I’ve known since the start but it isn’t always easy to say. I dance, stand, fundraise, donate, am motivated/inspired, and am so dedicated to this organization because of my younger brother Cade. We were born exactly 1 year & 2 weeks apart, my other half basically. He was born with tricuspid atresia (missing the tricuspid valve in his heart) and had five open-heart surgeries throughout his life, but sadly did not make it out of a brain tumor surgery in 2014.

For 15 years, my family basically lived in and out of the hospital whenever he had surgery or was in for other reasons. Without the staff and support from the hospital, I don’t think we would be where we are today or have had Cade for as many years as we did.  Cade was such a loving boy, who’s smile and laugh you could recognize anywhere. He was someone who would ask every person he met for a hug or a high-five and could quote a line from “Modern Family” or “Family Guy”  even if it hadn’t seen it in years. He also loved to dance and shake his butt and would even say “smack it” because he thought it was hilarious. Cade lived life with a smile and brought so much light to this world, so now I do that in his honor and continue to carry on his legacy. #livelifewithasmile

I dance for Cade, for those who are no longer with us, for those who are still fighting, & so many more. We are #thisgenerationfightingforthenext.

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