Brianna Winn feels blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of Apollo High School’s DanceBlue Marathon for the past six years. Her involvement started when she was in middle school.

Winn, a senior, said she was emotional when the results of this year’s marathon were tallied Sunday. It would be her last marathon while a student at Apollo.

“I really feel like (being involved) has made me come out of my shell,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s really grown my leadership skills, and shown me to be compassionate about something.”

Apollo raised $48,983 during the marathon this year, which was their seventh. That number was down from last year’s $66,000 raised, but Winn does not consider that a defeat. Apollo hosts the only DanceBlue marathon in western Kentucky for the organization.

DanceBlue Marathon has been taking place at the University of Kentucky and throughout the commonwealth for 14 years. It’s a yearlong effort that culminates with activities, community service and dancing.

The money raised during the DanceBlue Marathon goes toward pediatric cancer research at the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center in Lexington. Over the 14 years since its inception, DanceBlue has raised more than $15.3 million.

Winn said in the past Muhlenberg County High School students have tried to get their own fundraiser off the ground, and this year a few students from the school even came to Apollo’s marathon to see how they run things.

“It was a teaching experience,” she said.

Melissa Jarboe, AHS English teacher, said to date, Apollo has raised more than $275,000 for DanceBlue Marathon. Each year more than 300 students are involved from not only Apollo, but other schools across Daviess County, as well as Owensboro Public Schools and Owensboro Catholic Schools.

The first year Apollo hosted the fundraiser, students raised $5,700 in funding for DanceBlue. That number raised to $12,000 the next year, and then to $23,000. Last year, they raised $66,000 and Jarboe said she could not be prouder of her students.

“They are little, mini adults,” she said. “They are putting on an event for close to 300 people, and then they are able to share their leadership and their knowledge and their organization with other teenagers.”

Jarboe said Apollo students could not have had such a successful year if it weren’t for the local businesses who donated to the total. Those businesses included: Gardner Engineering & Consulting PLLC; Garrard-Howell Therapeutic Partners, LLC; Greenwell Chisholm Printing; Daviess County Teachers Federal Credit Union, Independence Bank, Durall-Wedding Orthodontics; Integrity Testing and Inspection; Don Moore Automotive Team; Western Kentucky Blood Center; German American; Unifirst; and Modern Welding.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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