Dance Marathon 2014: Block 6 recap

After meeting the halfway point during Block 6, students found motivation in the words of a father whose child was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Steve Dreher, the founder of Hope for Gus, a member of the Duchenne alliance — of which Team Joseph is a member — thanked the dancers for their continued energy, and talked about his son, Gus, who he learned had Duchenne shortly after his wife completed her cancer treatment.

Dreher said when he found out Gus was diagnosed with this illness, he was hoping for “cautious optimism,” but instead the doctor told him there was no cure, and nothing he could do.

“He said take your son home, give him a good childhood and love him,” Dreher said.

The doctor told Dreher and his wife to be ready to accept Gus’ “humiliation, his pain, his suffering, his slow death.”

“We don’t accept it. We’re going to do something about it,” he said. “And you guys, you’re helping. And that’s awesome.”

Dreher said he hopes his son will live to grow strong enough to have a greater future and kids of his own. Dreher said Gus once asked if he’d be able to teach his children to play basketball like Dreher was teaching him and his brother Abe. Dreher said questions like this break his heart.

“I believe he will grow up,” Dreher said. “I believe he will have kids. I don’t know if I’m being disingenuous, but I know what I believe and I know when I look at him there’s no other thing I can believe.”

Communication junior Ari Shapiro said listening to the speech in the tent with so many other students dancing for this cause allowed him to put the whole experience into perspective.

“I got a little teary eyed,” he said. “It’s easy to be in this room and feel this energy without thinking about the end goal.”

During the block, TV journalist Katie Couric also contributed a celebrity video, where she expressed her admiration for all the dancers about their commitment to achieving one goal.

“So go ahead,” Couric said. “Put on your boogie shoes, shake your groove thing, drop it like its hot and just dance for Team Joseph.”

Dancers also engaged in a rock, paper, scissors game, where each student faced another until one winner was announced.

The block change started early at about noon which will extend the dancer’s lunch break, said DM spokeswoman Summer Delaney.

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