Dance Marathon hosts first ever guest lecture


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Along with its widely known “Big Event,” Dance Marathon hosts several events throughout the year — and this past week marked its first-ever student lecture.

On Monday evening, Dance Marathon hosted a lecture in conjunction with the University of Iowa Lecture Committee with speaker Hollye Jacobs, a nurse and author of the recently written book The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer.

Madison Traviss, the recruitment head for Dance Marathon, came across Jacobs through an internship in California. After a little research, Traviss decided that she would be an excellent lecturer for Dance Marathon.

“Her insight really clicked with what Dance Marathon is all about,” she said.

As a nurse, Jacobs said, she was opened to a different side of the diagnosis than most others, and she spoke in her lecture about resilience, her own experiences, and about different things that she found helpful during her own diagnosis.

“Resilient thinking means finding the positive, those silver linings, in difficult, seemingly insurmountable circumstances,” Jacobs said. “In changing the language from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can try and try again.’ ”

Jacobs went on to give several tips for those who have been diagnosed with cancer and for those who wish to help a friend who has been diagnosed.

“A cancer diagnosis doesn’t just happen to you,” Jacobs said. “It happens to your family, your friends, and your community.”

Becca Cohen, a UI sophomore and nursing student, was particularly affected by Jacobs’ words.

“It’s one of the most difficult situations, to see a loved one suffering,” Cohen said.

Cohen’s grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer twice, and Cohen believed that the point of “being patient” was the most effective for her.

“You usually want to jump into action with a diagnosis like that,” Cohen said. “You just don’t want to sit still because you don’t want your loved one to suffer.”

This connection was exactly what Dance Marathon was hoping for, Traviss said.

“I really wanted people to have a connection with cancer,” she said. “[Jacobs] provided numerous perspectives on cancer.”

Jacobs’ numerous perspectives of cancer, from being a nurse to a patient to a friend, was another reason that Cohen said she wanted to attend the lecture.

“As a nursing student, I wanted a nurse’s perspective on treatment and what you will see on the job,” Cohen said.

Jacobs credited the difficult situations as to why she wrote her book, and why she travels and speaks about the ‘silver linings’ in the life of a cancer patient.

The Silver Lining is the book that I desperately sought when I was diagnosed, but couldn’t find,” Jacobs said. “The reason that I am sharing my story is to help other people find silver linings in their lives.”

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