By: Caroline Herrig
Dance Marathon is an organization that supports the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and this is Clarke’s third year of hosting their own Dance Marathon event.
This organization works throughout the school year to raise funds and awareness for the hospital, and at the end of the year at the “big event”, the total amount of money raised is revealed to all of the members and dancers who helped raise it! In the past two years, Clarke Dance Marathon, an entirely student-run organization, has raised over $25,000 and with that money, was able to purchase a prep/recovery room at the hospital that is named after Clarke’s program.
Kaitlynn Pate, one of CUDM’s Co-Presidents, expressed how critical each and every member and dancer is to the success of the organization.
“It is amazing to me that college students can make such an impact on the lives of those treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. We are all part of a movement that is larger than all of us participating combined. We are the face to end pediatric illness,” Pate stated.
This year, the organization has been especially busy with fundraising, as the goal this year is to raise $20,000, all of which goes directly to the hospital to provide things like meal tickets for families during their stay, toys/gifts for the kids, as well as funding for research for pediatric illnesses.
The executive committee has also been working to ensure the big event runs smoothly, and has been working to schedule entertainment for the event such as dodgeball, karaoke/lip sync battles, minute-to-win-it games, a bounce house, Zumba, therapy dogs, plus more! All of these activities are free for Dance Marathon committee members and dancers to participate in. The only hard part, is that there is no sitting or caffeine allowed during the 8 hour event. This is a way for the Dance Marathon members to take on the struggles that the kiddos at the hospital regularly face.
Most importantly, at the big event, the miracle families that are the face of the Clarke Dance Marathon program are given the opportunity to share their stories of their experiences with the hospital for all of the members and dancers to hear. These stories are shared throughout the event to serve as a reminder of what all of the hard work is for. Chelsea Pierce, CUDM’s Family Relations Director, stated, “I have never met and gotten to know stronger families than our CUDM miracle families. They let our organization into their lives and let us become a part of their families. They share with us their difficult times, and our organization helps life them up.”
CUDM’s big event is held on Saturday, April 14th from 4 pm – midnight, and is held in the Kehl Center on campus. Dancers can still register for the event, and donations can be made now, through the duration of the event. If you would like to register, donate, or learn more about Dance Marathon and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, you can visit clarke.edu/dancemarathon.