Lanferman family participates in UIDM to give back

After being diagnosed with cancer at age 3, Flynn Lanferman underwent three relapses and three bone marrow treatments. Now, he and his family are attending the UIDM on the event’s 25th anniversary.


Michael Guhin

The Lanferman Family is seen after leaving the main ballroom. The family has been to Dance Marathon 2 years previously, and their son was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago. There name was announced on stage during Dance Marathon 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday Feb 1, 2019.

Kate Pixley, News Reporter

Deana and Jeremy Lanferman’s oldest son, Flynn, is 14 now. He was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer and went through three relapses and three bone marrow transplants.

Flynn’s last bone marrow transplant was two and a half years ago.

“He’s doing really good,” Deana, his mom, said.

While the family has been a part of Dance Marathon for eleven years, this is their second time attending The Big Event.

“Flynn, our oldest, was diagnosed eleven years ago with cancer, but because of treatment – and he was notoriously sick on Dance Marathon weekend – that we got to come to number 16 and we’re here now. But we have been able to enjoy Dance Marathon events throughout the year, and we always watched a livestream while we were in the hospital, so we felt like we were kind of there,” Deana said.

Over 950 families are participating in this year’s Dance Marathon, a quarter century after it began at the University of Iowa.

RELATED: UIDM is underway at the IMU

While this is only the second time the Lanferman family has been able to attend the Big Event, they still feel very involved in the organization.

“We participate, we go to the events they have throughout the summer and then fortunately this year we’ve had the opportunity to go,” Jeremy said.

Deana said that her family chose to get involved in Dance Marathon this year to give back to the organization that has helped them while Flynn was in the hospital.

“We spent a lot of time cooped up in the hospital, because he was actually diagnosed four times with cancer. He relapsed three times, and those three relapses took bone marrow transplants to get him into remission,” Deana said. “And those kids in green used to hang out in our room; it was quite the party in our room. So, we really loved when they would come and if he was too sick to hang out with, they’d hang out with me. So they’re pretty amazing.”

The Lanferman’s decided to share their story to show the impact that Dance Marathon has on the lives of patients at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“We get kind of paid back too, because then we may be drowning in medical bills, but two, three, four times a year we get to take little mini vacations, because Dance Marathon hosts events at waterparks and Adventureland, and enjoy that time as a family. So, you know, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do some of the things that we’ve gotten to do,” Deana said.

Mary Smith, a first year dancer, said that she was excited to see how much money Dance Marathon has raised this year.

“I had heard about it a lot before in the past and it’s just a really cool thing to be a part of. The whole year has been amazing,” Smith said.

Jeremy also noted how much Dance Marathon has helped his other children while Flynn was in the hospital.

“They’ve given us very much. We’ve spent some time, obviously, in the hospital with my boy, and they’ve given us a lot of things while we’re there,” Jeremy said. “Even the [Dance Marathon volunteers] coming and playing with the other kids, playing with my son, that means the world to them, because they don’t always get any interaction with a whole lot of other people. So that means a lot to us and to other patients.”