What is Dance Marathon?
Dance Marathon is one of the largest student-run organizations at the University of Iowa. Over the past 20 years, Dance Marathon has raised almost 13 million dollars to benefit over 400 families who have been treated at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Unit. During my third year at the University of Iowa, I have been busy partaking in events to raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer. On February 7th and 8th, Dance Marathon culminates with the 24-hour BIG Event to celebrate the children’s fight against cancer and remember those who have lost their battle. During the 24 hours, I will not sit, have caffeine, or sleep, all in honor of these courageous kiddos battling pediatric cancer.
Why You Should Donate
Dance Marathon provides:
- Emotional and financial support for families and patients in the cancer unit
- Educational resources for diagnosed children
- Comfort Kits containing parking voucher, gas voucher, and meal voucher plus other care items for families
- Child Life Assistants to aid in the holistic treatment of the patients
- Technology in patient rooms such as flat screen TV’s, DVD players, Play Station 2’s, and laptops
- Several fun family events throughout the year
In February 2010, Dance Marathon, pledged five million dollars over the next seven years to the building of the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, and now, four years later, grounds have officially been “broken.” When completed in March of 2016, the new Children’s Hospital will be a great center of growth and aid for the state of Iowa. Through the five million dollar donation, Dance Marathon has the honor of the eleventh floor being named “The University of Iowa Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer Center.” Dance Marathon is excited to see what wonderful things will come out of the hospital, both for the Dance Marathon families and the children of the entire state.
My Connection with and Journey in Dance Marathon
When I started with Dance Marathon my freshman year of college, I got involved because I loved kids and it was a huge organization to get into and meet new people. Then, my Grandpa Bob had a cancer relapse, and my work for DM took on a whole new meaning. He passed away that Winter, so my experience at that Big Event was an emotional one, and I shed more than a few tears as I took part in memorial services in remembrance of my Grandpa. With the physical and emotional strain, and without a whole lot of friends with me, I almost wasn’t able to make it through the Big Event, and had to spend some time in the first aid room. But my family sent me support via messages and phone calls, and I was able to get back on my feet in time to cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love, get some visits from friends, and dance through power hour. The experience really changed my life.
The next year, I was determined to get more involved, and get my friends into it. I became a Family Representative , which means that I got to write letters of correspondence and support to one of the families helped by DM. I raised over $500 dollars that year, and had one of my best friends at the Big Event with me. We had a great time meeting and playing with the family our group was dancing for.
This year will be another emotional Big Event for me, because we lost my Great Grandpa Chuck to lung cancer this holiday season. He was an important patriarch in my family, and we miss him very much. With his loss and a lot of other things going on in my life this past semester, I wasn’t able to get as much fundraising done as I would have liked, and now I’m scrambling to make enough to get to the Big Event–we need at least $400 each. I can’t imagine not dancing in honor of the family I’ve lost, or even the family I’ve watched fight and survive (we have a lot of those too), but I need help!
How to Donate
It’s easy! If you can, please visit my Online Giving Page. It’s the easiest and quickest way to donate. If you can’t donate at this time, or would like to help in another way, please consider sharing this link on your various social media platforms. Everything helps! THANK YOU!