Dance Marathon is an organization that works comes together to raise funds for those in need of treatment plans, child life specialists and more to improve the lives of children at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital through Children’s Miracle Network’s Child Life Program.
Dance Marathon's 2020 campaign is “more than" to inspire patients to believe they are more than their illnesses and disabilities.
“We sort of bring that in with everything we do, so that campaign encompasses everything that we want to accomplish for the year," said Julian Masters, Dance Marathon's vice president of communications. "We’re 'more than' an organization; we’re 'more than' just some students that wanted to get involved. It’s 'more than' one kid; it's 'more than' one miracle."
Dance Marathon is the biggest student-run philanthropic organization on campus. Through the fall semester, the organization holds various fundraisers, such as Day of Miracles and Rave to Raise.
The Main Event will be held Feb. 29 from 10 a.m. to midnight.It consists of a 14-hour, no sitting or resting dance marathon that celebrates the efforts of the organization’s members to raise money and encouragement for patients at Prisma.
“The atmosphere at Main Event, it's just crazy, how people can still be so excited after 13 hours of dancing and being there all day with barely any food," second-year student Jensen Bernard said. "There’s a lot of love in the air.”
Patients and their families also participate in the event, and their presence shows students how much of an impact they are making through Dance Marathon, third-year chemical engineering student Brina Staviski said.
“My favorite thing has been meeting all the miracle families and really being able to see the impact that we have, as well as the family atmosphere that's at Main Event,” Staviski said.
Third-year nursing student Julia Treanor has been involved with Dance Marathon since her sophomore year. She said she was motivated to join by her sorority sister and instantly fell in love with the program.
“I love getting to see people find their connection to it, and it doesn’t always have to be some big, deep, ‘This happened to me, this happened to a loved one,’" Treanor said. "I had never met a group of people that was so passionate about something.”
Currently, Dance Marathon's staff consists of about 180 to 200 people, but the surrounding groups, such as Greek life, add up to many more. The members are always looking for students to join their philanthropic efforts.
Last year, the organization raised $1,038,156 for Prisma Health Hospital, making it the second year in a row it raised more than $1 million. This year, Dance Marathon is pushing to exceed $1 million for the third consecutive year.