By Garland Noel
Footsteps echo against the pale stone walls of the choir hallway, as a few students slowly proceed towards the dance studio. Along the walls , the student members of the Riley Relations Committee have placed a timeline to commemorate milestones in the history of Riley Hospital leading to the “Inspiration Room,” a room dedicated to the reasons behind the dance.
“We copied Butler’s Dance Marathon. They had a room similar to ours, and we tweaked some things, made some adjustments. We started it last year and it’s really grown this year. It’s become a key part of the night that no one should miss,” said senior executive member in charge of Riley Relations Chad Lawrence.
Although the atmosphere outside the choir hallway is alive with the sounds of the numerous activities and booths FCDM has to offer, the hallway and darkened studio are quiet as students reflect on those less fortunate.
“I feel very touched. It breaks my heart to know that all these kids don’t really get the same lives that we do. It’s a real eye-opener to know that kids are having disabilities or a disease when I sit here and always complain about my asthma on and off. My parents always say ‘someone’s got it worse than you,’ and now I really see it and it just breaks my heart,” said senior Christian Trevino.
Despite the gravitas of the “Inspiration Room,” the dancers who attend feel it to be a worthwhile experience to remember the motivation for today’s event.
“I think a lot of people lose track of why they’re really here, and I know that a lot of people have a personal connection to Riley’s, myself included. So to have a place for people to really connect with why we’re really here and why we raise this money is really important,” said three-time dancer senior Madeline Coffey.
First-time dancer sophomore Kayla Taff agreed with both Trevino and Coffey, saying that she plans to visit after every Riley’s speaker.
“I think it’s definitely one of the best parts of Dance Marathon, just to see everyone’s reasons for dancing. I wrote a note to the person who just talked, and I plan on doing it every time someone else talks,” said Taff.
As the event continues this afternoon, Trevino encourages everyone to visit the room and believes anyone could benefit.
“Go there and see what it does with you. See if it inspires you. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, stay there for a couple minutes longer,” said Trevino.