Wanna dance? Frank does! A couple of days ago, Judah Friedlander (who plays the funny writer, "Frank," on the Emmy Award winning comedy show, 30 Rock) danced the night (and the day, actually) away at Columbia University's annual 28 hour, non-stop Dance Marathon to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The Columbia University Dance Marathon (CUDM) was an amazingly powerful night for everyone there. Yes, there was crazy music, Frisbees, coloring books, and student group performances, but CGG and the rest of the participants at CUDM were also given valuable and motivating education that inspired us to just keep dancing, even when we felt like our feet were about to fall off. Ramona and Loridana Belfiore are two teenagers in a family in which 4 out of 5 kids are infected with HIV virus.
Loridana talked to CGG about the trials of living with HIV/AIDS: Not only are there "doctor's appointments and endless bloodwork," but also, "you worry about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. Will they accept you? Will your children be infected?" Ramona commended our dance efforts by telling us a story: "2 yrs ago I went to Africa, I met a guy there who, when I told him I was 20 yrs old and I was living w the virus he looked at me and he said I didn't think kids could live that long with HIV." Basically, "If you can find the right medication, you CAN live a happy life." However, many in underdeveloped countries do not have access to these expensive medications. Through events like the CUDM, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation raises money to make more equitable spread of AIDS education and medication throughout the world. This year, we raised a whopping $50,000 for the cause.
Jake Glaser, whose mother started the foundation, spoke about his older sister, Ariel Glaser, who died at the age of 7 because she was infected with AIDS: "She loved to paint. She lit up the world with, just, being…before she passed on, she painted a rainbow and said, 'life is beautiful.' This is now the logo for our foundation."
So, together, we danced. As the Foundation writes, we danced to "represent the mental and physical challenges faced by children suffering from HIV/AIDS." We danced as "an act of solidarity with those who suffer, but more importantly a celebration of our potential."
Every hour, CGG danced a special line dance to Ace of Base- It's a Beautiful Life," to celebrate Ariel Glaser's powerful words. Check out our skills below:
Get informed about the issue, talk to your friends, and, if you'd like to make a difference, donate to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, or other charities.
By CGG Contributing Reporter Shamsa Mangaliji