Do you think you have what it takes to dance and be on your feet for 12-46 hours? If you are involved with Dance Marathon you certainly are!
Dance Marathon or DM is a nationwide movement, involving college and high school students at more than 450 schools across the country that raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in their community and surrounding areas.
Founded at Penn State in 1973 their “THON” is a 46 hour-long dance marathon that happens every year in February. The Dance Marathon that started it all has grown from raising $2,000 to $13,343,517 and continues to grow their numbers every year. Today, Penn State alone has raised over $100,000,000 to cancer research.
Dance Marathons have become a tradition on college campuses and in the communities around the United States. Year after year, students are able to throw the biggest party of the year for the children. Thousands of students gather together to make this event happen at all the universities. With DM being supported and facilitated by a majority of students, it became the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
Each DM benefits a different children’s hospital in the area that they are located. The DM at Western Carolina University raises funds for Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville, SC.
So why stay on your feet for that long? The mission statement from the first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon is: “we dance for those who can’t.” Keeping this and “for the kids” imbedded in the minds of every volunteer and dancer helps make the 12-46 hours on your feet easier.
“It is a cause like any other and I will continue to support it for as long as I can.” said David Callahan, Dancer at Western Carolina’s Dance Marathon
“DM is an inspiring organization that brings students together and raises money for families that are in need. Dance Marathon was a large part of my high school and I saw firsthand how it bonded not only the student body but also the community! I’d love to see the same thing occur at UNC Charlotte and in the greater Charlotte community!” said Michelle Rudd, UNC Charlotte Dancer
Everyone has their own personal story to Dance Marathon including the Advisor for Western Carolina’s Dance Marathon, Francis Ann Ortiz. She was a miracle child herself. Needing a urethra transplant at a young age. The CMN hospitals and their great upkeep from the money donated from schools she was able to get the comfort and care for her and her family.
“I heard someone talking about dancing and helping the children’s hospital on campus and it sparked my interest. I spent a fair amount of time with my sister in the children’s hospital in Charlotte when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, so it was something that I wanted to be involved in. I really love being able to make a tangible difference on the Carolina community.” said Meagan Barger UNC Chapel Hill Executive.
“The ones stay on their feet for 12, 24, 36 hours in honor of children who have been through so much. They “dance” for those who can’t. They do it For the Kids!” said Emily Pelliccia, Executive Director of WCU Dance Marathon.
Western Carolina held it’s first Dance Marathon March 2012. It was a great success where they raised over $8000 for the sponsor hospital, The Greenville Children’s Hospital.
Westerns had its 4th annual Dance Marathon on November 21 where they raised a total of $12, 681.02. Each year the number grows as more and more people become involved.
“I love seeing the small schools with lesser students stand out in their money raised because it goes to show you that you can do anything. I also look forward to the schools growing their numbers and making it a big campus activity.” Said Taylor Dietrich, Director of Dance Marathon in the southeast region.
The goal for Western Carolina in the future is to gain more volunteers across the campus, and move to a bigger location such as the Ramsey Center. As they continue the fall tradition, they look forward to seeing it grow.