Dancing for hope and inspiration

Even before joining, WHSDM has already made a life-changing impact on Camille Gretter ’23.


Brityn Gryp ’23 (left) and Camille Gretter ’23 (right) attend the WHSDM event in January 2017.

Bright flashes of light paint the walls in stripes of green and pink. A loud song thumps in the background. A huge crowd madly waves glow sticks around them, jumping around to the beat of the music. This is the West High Dance Marathon Power Hour, and there is no going back now. 

This scene is one of familiarity for Camille Gretter ’23, who attended her first West High Dance Marathon event about five years ago. Little did she know, however, that it would change her life forever.

“[My older sister] asked me to come to the big event with her to just see if I liked the atmosphere, and then I just really got into it because of how fun it was.”

Camille first heard about WHSDM when her oldest sister became involved in the organization during her fifth-grade year. Now a freshman at West High, Camille cannot wait to join the school’s Dance Marathon club, as it has changed the way she thinks and sees the world.

The West High Dance Marathon has become a quintessential event at the school since it was first organized in 1992. WHSDM has brought the community together while supporting children battling pediatric cancer, and the Gretters have been a part of it since 2015. This past year, the event raised over $28,000, with all the proceeds benefiting the University of Iowa’s Dance Marathon. 

The family first became involved following the passing of Austin “Flash” Schroeder, who was a close friend of Camille’s older sister. 

“When [Flash] passed, we just wanted to do everything to help cure cancer as much as we could so the same thing wouldn’t happen [to other kids],” Camille said. 

Since then, the Gretters have helped support WHSDM by donating to and supporting the event’s various fundraisers as well as the larger dance marathon hosted at the University of Iowa.


Through all of this, Camille’s favorite part has been the large event at West High in January. Its unique and positive atmosphere has been especially influential to her. Camille especially enjoys the dancing, excitement and knowing she’s contributing to a good cause.

“It’s just really fun [and] it really makes my heart warm,” she said.

 As a part of the committee this year, Camille hopes to be as involved as she can, especially in planning the large event.  “It’s just very appealing to me,” she said.

There is always hope, and as long as you work hard to reach your goals, you can do anything.”

— Camille Gretter ’23

When asked about what she thinks WHSDM is important, Camille smiled before replying, “I think if there wasn’t a Dance Marathon campaign, there would be a lot less money raised for that cause. I think it gives [the kids battling cancer]  a lot of hope, and I think that it fulfills a lot of their dreams… I just want more kids with cancer to have [the chance] to live a normal life.”

Ultimately, Camille believes that the campaign is trying to spread the message that “there is always hope, and as long as you work hard to reach your goals, you can do anything.”


Although she has four more years to be a part of the WHSDM committee here at West, the campaign has already inspired her and affected how she views the world. 

“The whole thing is just inspiring to work my hardest and to be grateful. I think it’s a really good way to always stay positive about things and work hard to achieve goals,” Camille said.

Chloe Gretter ’20 already thinks that the club has already changed her younger sister. Chloe firmly believes that the event teaches valuable life skills such as commitment, creativity and social skills. In order to be a leader, one must be very invested both inside and outside of club meetings and able to think outside the box.

I believe Camille can be an active leader and member of Dance Marathon because she is already so dedicated to it.”

— Chloe Gretter ’20

“Dance Marathon has already impacted Camille, for I know she feels very passionately about the club’s ideology. I believe Camille can be an active leader and member of Dance Marathon because she is already so dedicated to it,” Chole said.

In addition, Sarah Gretter, Camille’s mother, believes that the organization will be a great experience for her daughter.

“I think that any opportunity for Camille to be a part of something that has such an impact on our community is a wonderful experience and will help her view the world, and those in it, with greater compassion… Life has no guarantees, and at some point we will all need someone else’s help in return. ”

Overall, Camille believes that WHSDM will help her become a better person, as it has already made her more appreciative of what she has in life.

“If you’re doing the right thing, [it] is going towards a good cause… and there will be good consequences for your actions,” said Camille.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email