Dance Marathon 2015: Block 3 recap


Ebony Calloway/The Daily Northwestern

Tennille Palms’ children, including 11-year-old Jahrel, dance on stage during Block 3. The family is part of the Heroes Program and shared stories of Starlight Children’s Foundation’s impact.

Hayley Glatter, A&E Editor

Starlight Children’s Foundation shined bright throughout Block 3, as the first of Dance Marathon’s Hero families took the stage to talk about the primary beneficiary’s impact.

Tennille Palms, whose 11-year-old son Jahrel was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia when he was born, told dancers about her experience with Starlight.

“They’ve really helped my family out so much,” Palms said. “They make sure that we don’t worry about anything that has to deal with sickle cell, medicine, nothing. They have always shown so much attention to our family and gave us so much care and love that it’s unbelievable.”

Palms and her family have been involved with Starlight for six to seven years, and in that time, she said she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love from the organization. Palms said Jahrel was having a blast dancing inside the tent and that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him.

“You know what, he likes all the attention! It’s like he’s a VIP,” Palms told The Daily. “Basically, it goes back to all the attention and love and care that everyone from Dance Marathon to Starlight has given our family.”

Hearing Palms’ story inspired dancers, whose energy fluctuated but remained surprisingly high for much of the “One(sie) Direction”-themed block. Clad in pajamas and One Direction apparel, those inside the tent said hearing Palms’ story clarified what exactly it was they were dancing for.

“I kind of knew what they did, they helped definitely bring some cool kind of fun things to kids in the hospital, but you don’t really know exactly how far that goes until you really hear it from someone who has experienced it.” Weinberg freshman Jillian Berry said. “So that was really awesome to see and find more information about.”

McCormick freshman Chris Coleman echoed this, saying he wasn’t sure what Starlight did before walking into the tent. However, listening to Palms inspired him to keep dancing, despite fatigue setting in.

“I think there are so many kids out there affected by sickle cell or other diseases that make them go to the hospital that we have to prioritize making their lives as easy as possible,” Coleman said. “I’m just doing it for the kids.”

At the end of the block, the Finance Committee took the stage and announced that right after dancer registration, $23,685 had been raised.

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