Money only part of marathon donations

Tracy Tucker

This is the first article in a three-part series showcasing the families who benefit from the 15-hour Dance Marathon.

If it weren’t for funds raised by Dance Marathon, the breathing machine that saved three-year-old Bodey Patterson’s life would not have been available.

Bodey, who lives with his family in Des Moines, is one of many children whose families are helped every year by Dance Marathon.

Money raised by Dance Marathon helps cover travel expenses, gives care packages to the families and helps with equipment upkeep.

When Bodey was born to David and Jen Patterson, he was diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension. Bodey’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck four times when he was born at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. This caused the main vessel from his heart to his lungs to remain closed when it should have been open, Jen said. A day later, Bodey was taken to University Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

“While at Iowa City, he was on nitric oxide for two weeks,” Jen said. “At that time, nitric oxide wasn’t FDA approved, and the only place you could get it was in Iowa City.”

Bodey has two siblings – 9-year-old Dyllon and 7-year-old Danielle. The family found out about Dance Marathon from a spokesperson from the Children’s Miracle Network, Jen said.

The entire family has been involved in three Dance Marathons since Bodey was born, all of which were held at Iowa State, she said.

“It’s helped us deal with things, knowing we aren’t alone,” Jen said.

At each 15-hour event, the students in Dance Marathon play with these children who have gone through so much, Jen said. The students make the children feel special, she said. For one day, they forget about being sick, Jen said.

Besides the main event Dec. 1, Dance Marathon has other events for the children and their families throughout the year, said Emily Smith, Dance Marathon biographer.

“We have taken the kids to places like Chuck E. Cheese, hockey games and Sesame Street Live,” said Smith, junior in psychology.

All the children and families involved in Dance Marathon have been treated at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Smith said.

“Everyone [at Dance Marathon] knows Bodey,” Smith said. “He’s got a lot of energy, an amazing smile and curly hair.”