Dance Marathon raises $125,000

Natalie Spray and Jordan Gizzarelli

On Saturday, 360 students danced 15 hours for 38 families to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Volunteers raised the goal to $125,000, up from $120,000 last year, said Andy Tu, public relations director for Dance Marathon.

The money raised will stay in Iowa, said Sue Witte, representative for the Department of Social Services at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa, an organization that benefits from Iowa State’s Dance Marathon. Witte said money will be used to purchase phone cards, parking passes and other necessities for the families of hospitalized children.

“[The money] benefits the children indirectly as well [as directly],” Witte said. “It means a lot to the staff to be able to help [the families] in this way.”

Jon Hernandez, families co-director, said he has been able to establish relationships with the families that Dance Marathon and the Children’s Miracle Network benefit.

“It’s rewarding for us to make a difference directly,” said Hernandez, junior in pre-business. “Getting to hang out with the kids is what sets Dance Marathon apart from other charity events.”

For Hernandez and other Dance Marathon participants, the event doesn’t end at midnight because the families and students stay in contact through the year, he said.

“Every single kid here gets treated like a king or queen,” Hernandez said. “For a day they’re the center of attention. And when they’re here, every single kid is like a little ball of sunshine. The healing power of Dance Marathon goes both ways; the kids get their days of sunshine and returning the favor to us.”

The family turnout has been huge this year, said Lisa Nash, Dance Marathon co-chair.

“Normally we have about half of the families we invite attend; today we have around three-fourths,” said Nash, senior in child and family services.

“I’m eternally grateful to these kids,” said Jenny Patterson, mother of Bodey, a child helped by Dance Marathon. “It’s just amazing to see all these kids come together and do things for sick kids that most of them have never met before. They have no idea of the positive impact this event has on a child.”

Patterson, of Des Moines, was not the only one to speak well of Dance Marathon. ISU President Gregory Geoffroy made an appearance during the early afternoon. Committee members were dressed in black leather and red bandannas to introduce the president as “the leader of the pack.” Geoffroy himself was dressed in sunglasses and a leather jacket.

“I know [Dance Marathon] is very important and many good things happen with the money,” Geoffroy said. “It’s really about the children.”

Geoffroy participated in Dance Marathon when he was at Penn State University and has contributed monetarily as well, he said.

Members of Alpha Gamma Rho, 201 Gray Ave., donated approximately $200 and volunteered to cook hamburgers for lunch, said Quinn Showalter, fraternity member and senior in agricultural studies.

Tori Rosin, public relations director for KURE 88.5, and other DJs helped Dance Marathon at the event all day.

“It’s great to see the kids having fun and interacting,” said Rosin, senior in journalism.

Dancers enjoyed themselves throughout the day.

“I will definitely participate next year,” said first year participant Matt Weber of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. “I originally wanted to raise $250 to $300, but it only took around two hours to raise $250 just by asking friends and family,” said Weber, freshman in computer engineering.

Support for the kids was obvious not only through the enthusiasm of the dancers, but also with signs decorating the Great Hall of the Union. By the end of the evening, dancers also had names of children scrawled on the back of their shirts in messy black ink.

“Everything was amazing,” Nash said. “Everything ran well throughout the day, the committee was great and the dancers were fun.”