Teddi Dance Links Memories for Fisher Student, Parent, and Alumnus
February 7, 2020
At the Teddi Dance for Love Committee’s Very Beary Brunch this past week, a link was completed. A challenge accepted. A proclamation made.
Each year, the brunch marks the final countdown to the Teddi Dance for Love, St. John Fisher College’s longest-running student tradition which benefits Camp Good Days and Special Times.
During the brunch, members of the Teddi Committee, Fisher faculty, staff, and students, elected officials, and Camp representatives also get the opportunity to meet the dance’s honorary chair. This year, Rochester native and Fisher mom, AnnMarie Link, will serve in that role, supporting her son, Kyle, and helping the campus raise money for a cause close to her heart.
For the Links, involvement in the Teddi Dance is a full circle moment. When Kyle was just a year old, he lost both of his kidneys to cancer. He underwent critical care and dialysis treatments at Golisano Children’s Hospital until he was healthy enough to sustain a kidney transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital, all the while receiving support from organizations like Camp Good Days.
In 2009, Kyle was selected to serve as an honorary coach at Courage Bowl III, a game the Fisher football team has played in for 15 years. For most of his young life, Kyle spent many days in a hospital bed or the playroom his parents created for him and his brother. To be on the sidelines as a coach was a dream come true.
“I couldn’t play sports growing up, but I was king of that game for the day. On the field and in the locker room with the players, wearing their jersey, and being given a special token to remember forever,” Kyle recalled. “The gloves from that game sit in my bedroom to this day, and the special player that gave them to me sits in this room today.”
That player? Fisher football’s defensive coordinator Chris Keyes ’10, who played defensive back for the Cardinals that year. A passionate supporter of Camp Good Days, Keyes was chair of the Teddi Dance his senior year, worked for Camp following graduation, and when he returned to Fisher as an employee, began advising the Teddi Committee, working side-by-side with his honorary coach from ten years ago.
“Chris Keyes, thank you for all you do, not only for Teddi, but for the impact you’ve had on me and my family,” Kyle said.
From that day playing on the football field more than a decade ago, Kyle knew he was destined to study at Fisher. Now in his third year as a finance major, he is proud to be an integral part of the Teddi Dance for Love as an outreach captain, carrying on the legacy of giving back that he learned from his mother.
Honorary chairs usually cheer on the dancers at the beginning and close of the dance. Rumor has it that no honorary chair has spent all 24 hours with the dancers. Until now.
“I heard there was a challenge whispered behind the scenes. That challenge was served, and let me say to you…” Ann Marie said, turning to Chair Tyler Adams ’20 and Vice Chair Emily Trotman ’21. “Challenge. Accepted.”
And with that, the room erupted into applause.
“The only thing I have to give is time and love. So you have me for the whole 24 hours,” she said. “I hope that over these next couple of days, hours, and minutes leading up to Teddi that you remember that this is a very special group and amazing cause. Let us use this time to generate positive energy and vibes to raise awareness and funds.”
The Beary Brunch closed with representatives from both the City of Rochester and Monroe County proclaiming February 9-15, 2020 “Teddi Dance for Love Week.”
Teddi 38 runs from 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14 through 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Center. To register for the dance in advance, or to make a donation, visit Teddi’s website (teddi.sjfc.edu). A $50 donation is requested for dancers interested in participating for the full 24 hours; the suggested donation for the mini eight-hour marathon, held from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, is $35.
Follow @TeddiDance4Love on Twitter for updates about the event.