Full Circle: B+ Hero to UDance Executive Board

B+ Hero Abby was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2004 at age 3 ½. In 2012, Abby became the first ever B+ Hero to be paired with a sports team at The University of Delaware. She was paired with Women’s Varsity Lacrosse.

Abby marking off one last day on her countdown to the last day of chemo!

When she was first paired with Women’s Lacrosse, Abby was a bit intimidated to meet everyone. “It was intimidating at first because there’s about 50 people on the team that know of you already and are so excited to meet you, and just one of you,” she explained. She continued to share that the Lacrosse team held smaller events with fewer women until she was comfortable, and this helped her really get to know the women on the team. “I really got to know these girls and enjoyed hanging out with them. It became so special to me that I helped co-found a smaller childhood cancer dance marathon at my high school.”

In 2016, as a freshman in high school, B+ Hero Abby was re-paired with the UDance Executive Board. “When I was paired with the Women’s Lacrosse Team, there was one girl named Elyse that was always my main point of contact. We became super close. When I got repaired with the UDance Executive Board, she was actually on the board at the time, so I was still paired with her. To this day, we still text and hang out,” Abby shared.

Abby and Elyse at UDance 2019!

As a B+ Hero, Abby became close to the UDance Executive Board Family Relations Team. “Since we were close in age it was like making new friends every year with whoever was on that team,” she expressed. “I could talk to them about anything in my life, even unrelated to UDance and B+ because I saw them as my friends.”

One of Abby’s most memorable moments as a B+ Hero was when the UDance Executive Board gave her an Exec T-Shirt instead of a B+ Hero T-Shirt. “People thought I was on the Executive Board because I was older and wearing the shirt, but I was actually the B+ Hero paired with them,” she explained. She also shared that she would perform a dance on the day of the UDance 12-Hour Dance Marathon every year. “I was really shy and a horrific dancer, but the Executive Board would pick a song and do the dance with me and it ended up being so much fun,” she explained. Abby was also invited on stage for ‘Rave Hour’ and for the Annual UDance Line Dance!

At the end of Abby’s dance during the talent show at UDance 2016 they picked her up and all took a selfie on stage

In 2019, Abby began college as a freshman at the University of Delaware, and her sophomore year she came full circle from her experience as a B+ Hero, and joined the UDance Executive Board as the B+ Family Relations Chair. 

Abby’s experience as both a B+ Hero and a member of the UDance Executive Board allows her a unique perspective on both ends of the UDance Community. When asking why Abby wanted to join the UDance Executive Board as a student at UD, the answer seems obvious. However, there is much more to Abby’s ‘Why’ than meets the eye:  “I wanted to join the UDance Executive Board myself to make a connection like Elyse did with me, and be the person she was for me, for someone else,” she explained. “My experience makes me feel inspired all the time because I know what these children are going through, and how difficult it is. But, I also know that doing just one little thing like sending a quick check-in text to a B+ Hero can literally make their day. It just brings a more personal connection to why I do this,” she continued. “Since I was a B+ Hero, I received all of the love that the UDance Community gives to all of the B+ Heroes,” she shared. “Feeling that love and empowerment made me want to be on the Executive Board and be able to do that for other B+ Heroes. That's why I chose to be on the Family Relations team. I wanted to give back to a community that I’ve been a part of for so long because the experience was so special to me,” she continued.

At UDance 2012, Abby’s first UDance, she stood on the stage as a fifth grade B+ Hero. This year, she stands on the stage as a two-year member of the UDance Executive Board. “I remember seeing the total amount fundraised each year get bigger and bigger,” she described. “It was really cool to see as a B+ Hero because I had no idea what went on behind the scenes, but I just kept seeing that number grow each year.” Today, Abby serves on the UDance Executive Board as a Donation Chair on the Finance Team, where she counts the donations and watches this number grow in her everyday work.

Abby shared how the UDance Community, both as a B+ Hero and a member of the UDance Executive Board affected her personally on a deeper level. She described feeling judged and isolated as a child going through cancer treatment. She was the only student in school allowed to wear a hat in class, and other students pointed it out. Becoming involved with UDance and The B+ Foundation created a safe environment for her. “When I was younger, I didn’t talk about my cancer experience. I felt like an outsider. I felt judged,” she expressed. “When I got involved with UDance and B+, everyone accepted me and loved me for my experience with cancer. No one thought I was weird or different. Having this community that doesn’t judge others for their past, especially things they can’t control, made me feel a lot more comfortable sharing my story.”  

She also shared how her experience with cancer, especially as a child, impacted her personal life. “It made me more grateful for life,” she shared. “Sometimes people take everyday things for granted like being healthy, being able to walk, and going to class. I know how easily that can change, and I’m always so thankful for what I have and what I can do,” she detailed. Abby was lucky enough to have no long-term health effects but shared that she knows many people do not get away so easily, and long-term effects can continuously affect survivors’ lives. 

One of the things Abby loves most about UDance and the B+ Hero program is “being able to meet other B+ Heroes and hang out with them instead of focusing on cancer. That’s something that’s really special to all of us,” she explained. “At the end of the day we just want to be treated normally like everyone else, and UDance is really a place for us to do that,” she continued.

Abby has the unique perspective of being both a B+ Hero and receiving all the love from the UDance Community, as well as being a part of the UDance Executive Board and giving the love she received to other B+ Heroes and families. Her story and strength continuously inspires the rest of the UDance and B+ Community. We fight for our B+ Heroes like Abby, so one day, they all have the opportunity to reciprocate the love they’ve received.


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