2018 Spotlife on Life Student Profile – Josh Cope

Josh Cope – LEBW’s 2018 dance representative for the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin’s Spotlight on Life Gala!

The National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin (NKFW) created Spotlight on Life in 2011. Today, it has grown to be an annual tradition between Fred Astaire Dance Studios and the NKFW of dance, collaboration, and fun-spirited competition. Spotlight on Life celebrates the lives that have been saved or enhanced through transplantation, donors who have given the gift of life, and underscores the 2,249 Wisconsin families who are still waiting for their loved ones to receive a critical life-saving transplant. This year’s event will take place on January 27, 2018, 7PM CST at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center, and will be live streamed here for those that can’t attend.

Combining dancing, rivalry, and fun, Spotlight on Life is a unique gala celebration of the gift of life. Representatives from organ procurement organizations, tissue banks, transplant hospitals, and other related organizations take professional dance lessons from FADS professionals and compete toe-to-toe on the dance floor. Guests enjoy a gourmet dinner, dance competition, and after party. Every guest has the opportunity to vote for their favorite dancer by making a donation. Every $1 donated equals 1-vote. Most votes will win the “People’s Choice” award.

Get to know Josh

Why did you decide to become our dancer?
I work with several strong-willed women at LEBW (Lion’s Eye Bank of Wisconsin), who all wanted me to dance…so I’m dancing! But seriously, I attended the Gala last year and thought it was an amazing experience. Hearing the first-hand stories of people touched by organ transplants was uplifting, and left me with renewed vigor for the work we do. Part of my role with LEBW is to listen to interviews with donor families, soon after their loved one passes, to learn more about the donor’s medical and social history. These are emotional family members still struggling with the reality that their loved one is gone. And somehow, they find strength to talk with us, finding solace in knowing their loved one’s gift can help another person. Weeks or months later, we often receive letters from those same family members, no longer sad or sorrowful, but grateful, even joyous knowing the gift of their loved one has so profoundly helped another person. Dancing in this competition gives me the chance to help raise money for an amazing organization that supports and celebrates those donors, and their brave families. It’s an honor to do anything I can to help.

What’s your role at LEBW?
My title is Quality Services Specialist – I organize and review donor records to evaluate them for eligibility.

When you’re not dancing, what would we find you doing?
When I’m not dancing, I’m probably working, at the gym, or doing something outdoors. Camping, hiking, rock climbing, pick-up sports, heck, even a bar with a patio is enough to keep me happy. Traveling is my escape and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to make it to Europe this Fall for the real Oktoberfest. I also love to read and find new music so if anyone has any good suggestions, I’m all ears.

How can we vote for you?
The National Kidney Foundation will be setting up a fundraising platform for each dancer and you will be able to donate through that link. Every $1 donated equals 1 vote. The dancer with the most donation/votes will receive the People’s Choice Award at the gala.

Anything else we should know?
The gala is January 27th, 2018 at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center, and will be live streamed for those that can’t attend. It has a fantastic auction as well. I would encourage people to like our FB page and NKF’s FB page since that is where much of the info and fundraising instructions will be found.

LEBW Website: www.lebw.org/spotlight-life-2018