RaiseRED, a "Miraculous" Experience
For my first two years of raiseRED, I participated as a dancer. After seeing the impact that this organization has, I knew I had to get more involved. Last year, I was fortunate to be a Team Leader, but was much luckier to be involved in the Cardinal Crew program where I was paired with David. Cardinal Crew partners college kids with kids battling cancer and allows you to get a better understanding of why you dance.
The first opportunity that I had to meet David was last year at the Fall Festival, where all the kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes. When I got there, Reagan Miller explained that David was dressed up as some cat superhero she had never heard of. But as soon as I saw David, I recognized his costume as Cat Noir from the show Miraculous.
The instant I saw this I almost shed a tear. Lucia, my 5-year-old sister, loved that show and even dressed up as another character that year for Halloween. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that David was just like any other kid; he has the same interests and hobbies that any other kid would have. What David and his family are going through could just as easily be happening to Lucia and my family. Just having that realization made me want to work even harder than I ever realized I could in the past.
The rest of the night was fun as it included a fashion show of all of the different costumes that the kids (and even some of the college kids) were wearing but most importantly it gave me a chance to hear David’s story and to learn more about him as a person. He loves Pokemon, legos, and just about everything else an 8-year-old boy loves. I also got to hear his parents’ story and you could see how hanging out with us older kids brought so much joy to David and made him feel like a normal kid again.
Later on in the year, David attended the Louisville Men’s Basketball raiseRED night at the YUM Center. During a timeout, our Cardinal Crew had a race on the court. Even though he was in a wheelchair by this time, David wanted to participate in the race and I was chosen to push him. I then did the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, pushing David in a wheelchair in front of 20,000 people. We did finish but we also finished second to last and David was not happy with me for “running too slow”. Looking back on it, I was so happy that David was able to participate and I could help him forget about everything else going on and only focus on a race. Even though it was the scariest moment of my life, I would gladly do it again to see David that happy once more.
Both the Fall Festival and the basketball game with David made me realize the main reason why I dance- to give children their childhood back. There’s no reason that a kid like David should have to worry about treatment when he should be worried about how his Pokemon are doing or who his favorite Power Ranger is. I am so excited to hang out with David again this year (socially distanced of course). Seeing how much joy that I am able to give him makes my day each and every time.
For the Kids,