Eileen Cullen, senior second year Morale Captain, has dedicated the past three years of her life to Dance Marathon.
Her freshman year she had no involvement in Dance Marathon, but this soon changed after she spent the summer going into her sophomore year being a camp counselor at a camp for kids with serious and life threatening illnesses in Central Florida.
This experience at camp is what sparked her passion for the kids.
Going into this camp, she had no idea the impact it would make on her life. She was exposed to kids who just wanted to be normal kids, not kids who were defined by their illnesses.
One camper told her that at camp “I am a kid, not THAT kid.” This was one of Eileen’s many redefining moments. This made her realize that outside of camp kids can feel so defined by their illness.
Another moment at camp that has defined her DM journey is about a camper who called Luigi. This camper completely transformed into a courageous and fearless kid when he wore a Luigi costume all week. “He went from the kid who only hung out with his counselors, not the kids his age, to the kid who made 6 new friends by the end of the week because Luigi loved to talk to other kids,” she said.
Eileen works so diligently fundraising and as a Captain of Dance Marathon so all kids can feel the way her campers feel while they are at camp. She says programs like Arts in
Medicine and Child Life help the kids express themselves and normalize their experiences as much as possible. These programs, which are generally fully funded by donations, are why she raises money for DM.