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RaiseRED Cardinal Crew

My freshman year I remember being overwhelmed by school and being nervous that between the fundraising and the marathon that raiseRED would be too much to participate in. However, I still wanted to see what raiseRED was and attend community hour at the marathon, so I went to the reveal. I remember being so blown away by the amazing sense of support and community that raiseRED provided for the families and students. I remember watching the reveal and seeing how excited all the dancers were, and feeling an overwhelming sense of happiness as people started to hug each other in excitement. I even started to tear up when they held up those numbers and saw the students go crazy. I instantly felt regretful for not participating and wished I could have been a part of that celebration and knew I had to get involved next year. Little did I know the impact raiseRED would have on me when I decided to register for the marathon the next year.

When I joined committee as a morale captain my junior year, I was paired with my cardinal buddy, Taylor O’Brien. Taylor was 7 years old at the time and the first time we met we went bowling together. It was very obvious that Taylor was mature for her age and was very caring and motherly to her two younger siblings. She reminded me a lot of myself, and I instantly felt like we had a strong connection. One of the most fun times we had together was kid prom. At kid prom, Taylor got a chance to dance and play like a normal kid which is one of my favorite memories with her. Watching Taylor dance and play with her friends reminded me that raiseRED isn’t just there to raise money for cancer research, but to help change lives for children.

Another cardinal buddy I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know was Seth Walsh. I got to visit Seth when he was staying at Norton’s Children’s Hospital. Seth and I played games for hours, and when the doctors came in to check on him he was so happy and it was very obvious that he was the highlight of many people’s days within the hospital. With his warm smile and funny jokes, he was able to make the toughest battle seem just a little more manageable.

Both of these cardinal kids constantly remind me of why I dance, their bright and optimistic attitudes remind me that they are normal kids affected by a terrible disease. Watching how excited they get during the marathon makes those 18 hours of standing and not sitting worth it. It makes every Venmo and Instagram story about raiseRED worth it, knowing we are affecting real lives, every day. I am inspired every day to fundraise for these kids and many others. Taylor and Seth have truly enhanced my raiseRED experience, and I am very lucky to have gotten to know and care for them.


Claire Benson

Morale Captain Coordinator

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