For The Kids raises $70,025.94 at marathon. Photo courtesy of FTK

UTSA is home to wonderful organizations that help both the campus and the San Antonio community. One organization has taken on the task of helping alleviate the financial and emotional burdens of families with children suffering from pediatric cancer.

For The Kids (FTK) is a non-profit organization that began in 2009 as the result of a project assigned in a leadership skills course.

Since then, the organization has continued to grow and provide help to those that need it most. Many of the original executives and board members continue to participate and help guide the new members with FTK events.

“Our goal is to let the children and their families know that they are not alone as they face this harrowing disease,” said public affairs chair Samantha Holub.

FTK spends all year planning different events to help children and their families. Throughout the year, FTK holds family game nights, hospital parties and a fashion show to help children have fun. During the fashion show, the children are escorted down the runway by student leaders.

The main event for FTK is the Dance Marathon. This event is planned year-round and focuses on 10 to 15 children and their families.

“The theme of the year is picked during the summer and Dance Marathon starts being planned in the fall,” said Holub. “We fundraise the entire year, but we begin making decorations and contacting organizations beginning in the first few weeks of the spring semester.”

The dance marathon is a no sitting, no sleeping, twelve-hours of high energy pledge made to local families that are battling the emotional and financial burden of pediatric cancer. The significance behind the twelve-hour dance pledge lies in the idea that if the families cannot rest from this battle with pediatric cancer, then neither will the pledge dancers. But fear not, the event is not only about dancing. There are also live entertainment, music, games, performances by athletes, family speeches and more.

“For every event, we invite every student organization on campus,” said Holub. Events and causes such as FTK’s dance marathon demonstrate how organizations can unite and help fight to make a difference in the lives of others. To help families escape the hospital environments they are accustomed to while also allowing sick children to have fun is a noble cause that brings the San Antonio community together.

FTK works to make the lives of children and their families a little easier.

FTK hopes, for just a little while, children will forget they are sick and families forget the great responsibilities they have. This fight against childhood cancer is trying to make life a little more enjoyable for those involved.

This year’s FTK dance marathon will take over the Convocation Center on April 8 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students and campus organization are encouraged to help with this great event. To register as a dancer, students can check out danceforthekids.org/register. The $30 registration fee covers the cost of a t-shirt and three meals.

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