Annual dance event helps kids

Gabe Davis

More than 600 ISU students and volunteers danced, jumped and “Kicked it for the Kids” during ISU’s fourth annual Dance Marathon.

Dance volunteers paid a $15 registration fee and raised at least $150 in order to participate in the marathon. The event, which was from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union, raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network. This year, the marathon raised $112,500, compared to $60,000 last year.

“Proceeds raised at Dance Marathon go toward providing care for children who come into the hospital in an emergency situation when their insurance doesn’t cover it,” said Laura Wenman, director of CMN at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Entertainment for the dance, ranging from the ISU pom squad to ping-pong tables and Nintendo 64s, helped the dancers stay on their feet for the 15-hour marathon.

The Memorial Union was filled with music all day, which was provided by Don Russom, who has deejayed every Dance Marathon at Iowa State and the University of Iowa.

“I do this for one reason — the kids, that’s it. No vain, no glory, no nothing,” he said. “Seeing what these kids go through, what we go through is nothing.”

Dance Marathon Executive Co-Directors Amy Berger and Geoff Wood said they started planning the event two days after last year’s marathon ended.

“Of all the campus organizations we have, this is one of the few that has a true purpose,” said Wood, senior in community and regional planning. “It goes toward helping people live better lives.”

This year’s marathon hosted 40 families with children who have been in need of the assistance of the Children’s Miracle Network. Twenty-five of the families were able to come with their children.

“You can see the rewarding benefits of the money you raise, because you have the kids right there with you,” said Berger, junior in management information systems.

Throughout the day, families were given the opportunity to thank the students for volunteering their time and raising money. Students were often brought to tears by the stories families told about their children’s experiences with cancer and the joy and help the network had given them.

“Without the Iowa Children’s Hospital, my life would be completely different,” said Jim Brown, father of four boys born with Phenylketonuria, which makes children mentally retarded unless the disease is caught and properly treated within the first six months of their lives. “Thanks to [the dance volunteers] we can help save more children’s lives and make more kids healthy.”

More than 100 students volunteered for leadership positions, and preparations for the day began at 2:30 a.m., said Brian Tenclinger, assistant dean of students and adviser to Dance Marathon.

“We do all the jobs nobody thinks about,” said Arianna Kem, sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communication. “We still raise money and get psyched up for all of this. We just help out with food, run errands and don’t get to dance quite as much.”

In addition to student volunteers, members from the ISU pom squad, cheer squad and Army ROTC also volunteered their time to provide entertainment for the dancers.

“This was an awesome opportunity to get with the community and support kids in need and the Children’s Miracle Network,” said ISU Pom Squad member Stacy Locker, freshman in elementary education.

At the end of the night, the crowd cheered to the announcement of the amount of money raised.

“It’s been a blast,” said Emily O’Rourke, junior in marketing. “It puts into perspective how blessed we are to be able to help other people with our time.”