Parker Hinkle

Parker finds fulfillment through involvement

Parker’s desire for involvement started in second grade, when his older brother’s friend was diagnosed with cancer. To support him, they traveled to Iowa City’s Dance Marathon and participated in the 24-hour event. Parker loved dancing and knowing his efforts helped raise money for children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses. 

 “I find it rewarding, knowing I can make a difference in the things I do,” he said. “I like being involved in things bigger than myself, like the Dance Marathon.”

Once he started college, Parker quickly signed up to dance at the Iowa State University Dance Marathon. Although he thoroughly liked dancing in the marathon, he discovered his true enjoyment behind the scenes — working on the recruitment committee.

“I love being able to talk face to face with people on the fence [about joining] and share the experiences that I’ve had,” he said. “It’s so rewarding seeing the kids’ reactions. They’re able to feel ‘normal’ for a few hours. They don’t have to worry about their next treatment — they can be kids and live in the moment and have fun.”

In addition to his executive position with Dance Marathon, Parker also engages in numerous clubs, activities, and leadership positions.

Despite loving his busy schedule, Parker admits it can be overwhelming at times. Rather than jumping in all at once, he suggests gradually adding new activities and strongly recommends using a planner to keep events and assignments organized.

Above all, he urges everyone to step out of their comfort zones and get involved.

“Take a leap of faith,” he said. “If it’s something you enjoy, you’ll never feel like you have to do it. And if it doesn’t work out, at least you know you tried.”