Dancers, families remember children in memorial room

Dancers and family members gather in the Dancing in Our Hearts room to remember the children who have lost their battle to cancer over the years.

Jessica+Dang+%28left%29+and+Katie+Williams+%28right%29+look+at+a+memorial+board+in+the+Dancing+In+Our+Hearts+room+of+the+Iowa+Memorial+Union.+The+room+is+dedicated+to+the+children+who+passed+away+from+cancer+and+attended+Dance+Marathon.+The+girls+viewed+this+board+on+Friday+Feb.+1%2C+2019.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Dancers, families remember children in memorial room

Jessica Dang (left) and Katie Williams (right) look at a memorial board in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The room is dedicated to the children who passed away from cancer and attended Dance Marathon. The girls viewed this board on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Jessica Dang (left) and Katie Williams (right) look at a memorial board in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The room is dedicated to the children who passed away from cancer and attended Dance Marathon. The girls viewed this board on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Michael Guhin

Jessica Dang (left) and Katie Williams (right) look at a memorial board in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The room is dedicated to the children who passed away from cancer and attended Dance Marathon. The girls viewed this board on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Michael Guhin

Michael Guhin

Jessica Dang (left) and Katie Williams (right) look at a memorial board in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The room is dedicated to the children who passed away from cancer and attended Dance Marathon. The girls viewed this board on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In a room away from all the loud music and excitement, there is a memorial for the children who have lost their battle with cancer. The soft sound of piano and flowing water from a fountain sets the mood for remembrance.

The Dancing in Our Hearts room is lined with posters covered in pictures and memorial letters written by the families of the ones who have been lost. Each letter tells the child’s life story and the memories their family has of them.

Michael Guhin
Ally Holtan (far right) and her friends in Dance Marathon view the memorial to the children who passed away in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Dancers and family members silently walk around the room reading and taking in the stories of these children. These children act as a constant reminder for why everyone at Dance Marathon dances.

“To me, it’s just the whole reason that we’re here,” freshman dancer Jordan Banfield said. “It definitely puts a face to the cause and just makes it all personal.”

The memorial serves as a reminder for how precious life is, Banfield said. Through being in DM, individuals can spread positivity and show the kids and families the brighter side of life, she said.

“Just seeing that they’re not just stories, and they’re actual people just like us, seeing the dates and thinking, ‘Oh, they’d be as old as me and in college.’ It’s crazy that they didn’t get that opportunity,” dancer Tessa Keeton said.

Michael Guhin
Dawn Vogel explains how she and her husband now have a scholarship in her honor now. They fundraise the money each year in the Quad Cities and buy toys and arts supplies for the kids. Her daughter’s favorite past time was art and it is displayed in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

It makes the people who enter the room at life differently, Keeton said. Seeing the kids and families here and letting them know that they’re not alone is important, she said.

The Dancing in Our Hearts room is a way for dancers of the past be continually represented, dancer Nyah Block said. It shows the impact on these families’ lives even after their child has passed away, she said.

“The biggest thing that I saw was how there’s a lot of sad facts in the children’s stories, but at the end of every letter the parents say don’t be sad for our kids, they’re in a happier place. They love what you’re doing, and they that you’re still supporting all the kids who are still fighting,” Block said.

Michael Guhin
A child who passed away from cancer is memorialized in a cut out of him in a Batman costume in the Dancing In Our Hearts room of the Iowa Memorial Union on Friday Feb. 1, 2019.

Each story is different, but parts of them are the same because of the impact DM had on their lives, dancer Maryn Johnson said. As a patient at the children’s hospital, Johnson wanted to do DM to give back to everything the doctors and nurses have done for her, she said.

“I think seeing that what we’re doing is impacting families lives’ just really shows that we’re doing this for a purpose,” Johnson said.

Facebook Comments