The campus community recently came together on social media using the hashtag #Dab4Danielle in support of a fellow student’s sister.
Ashleigh Robinson, music theater sophomore, has a little sister named Danielle, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on Feb. 20.
Children with down syndrome, like Danielle, often have a higher risk of developing leukemia.
Danielle is known for her dance moves, her favorite of which is “dabbing.”
“Because she’s known for it, we use that hashtag so that we can get people to dab for her while she’s in the hospital and can’t dab for herself,” Robinson said. “Kind of in a stance of solidarity with her, to show that people support her.”
Rather than focusing on her illness, the Robinson family wants the focus to be more positive, Robinson said.
“When we say #Dab4Danielle, it reminds people of the spunk and the character that she has, and it’s kind of an uplifting sort of thing,” she said.
Danielle began her dabbing habit at the dinner table while covering a sneeze, Robinson said. Dabbing then became a trademark of sorts for Danielle.
“A whole bunch of people reached out to me asking how they could help, how they could support my family, that sort of thing,” Robinson said. “But, because of the condition she’s in, we can’t accept food or flowers. Those are the normal ways people help out, so instead of that, I was trying to think of ways people can help. So, my boyfriend’s stepmom actually started the hashtag in a post.”
Individuals and groups such as Phi Gamma Delta and the OCU cheerleading team have posted videos and pictures of themselves dabbing for Danielle.
The movement has gone state-wide, with participation from high schools and churches. A news station from Reno, Nevada, even took part in the trend.
“It’s been really incredible,” Robinson said. “It’s been mostly good for my Mom because she just loves seeing how many people love Danielle and care for her, and it’s really cool to see how many people Danielle has affected.”
Robinson said the hashtag is an effective way of bringing Danielle’s experience to those unfamiliar with her or her condition.
“We really really really appreciate all of the dabs,” Robinson said. “It gives people that maybe don’t know me and don’t know Danielle as well, better exposure to her, and better exposure to leukemia and down syndrome and so many different things that they weren’t exposed to before.
“It helps broaden their idea of what normal looks like, and helps get more support for this. Dab on.”
The Robinson family is trying to begin “Reach for the Stars,” a program for intellectually disabled young adults at OCU.
“One thing we keep saying is that ‘life doesn’t stop, it just slows down,’” Robinson said. “Yes, we’re still doing Reach for the Stars. While my mom is a little more devoted to hospital time now, they’re still having meetings, they’re still fundraising, they’re still getting approval and things like that.”
The family plans to submit the program to the trustees in April.
There was a recent cabinet meeting regarding the program.
Ashleigh’s grandmother is also helping with the creation of “Reach for the Stars.”
“My Grammy has been working a lot for my Mom while my mom has been at the hospital,” Robinson said. “There’s talk of a GoFundMe happening to give students and other people a better opportunity to donate.”