Dance Marathon raises money, spirits on campus

| Staff Reporter

Every hour, amusing costumes, flanel shirts and cowboy boots, sombreros and mickey mouse ears, were donned by students and community members as they boogied with their teams and interacted with “Miracle Children,” the beneficiaries of medical care from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The cause was the St. Louis Area Dance Marathon (DM), a 12-hour dance-a-thon that raised at least $150,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis.

Around 1,300 registered participants, in addition to local businesses, raised funds to support two St. Louis children’s hospitals—St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

Dance Marathon participants form teams weeks in advance and raise funds up to the day of the event. Their efforts culminate in the 12-hour event, which features a different theme for each hour, and participants are encouraged to dance the whole time.

“Everybody who’s there is really pumped up and into it and especially all the people who have their own teams are really amped up. People were still dancing the whole time [multiple hours into the event],” senior Jacob Shaw said.

This year, as an added incentive to encourage donations, students received awards for reaching certain fundraising levels. They also collaborated with a national DM initiative, a national dance competition with Ubisoft’s new game Just Dance 3. The footage of participants dancing will be uploaded to the Just Dance YouTube channel, called justdancegame, next Saturday. The video that receives the most votes will win $4,000.

Senior Claire Pluard, one of Dance Marathon’s two executive directors, said more than 800 people attended the event, with at least 300-400 there for the entire time.

The annual event, which lasted from 2 p.m. on Saturday to 2 a.m. on Sunday, began in 2000 and has grown significantly since then.

Fundraising will continue into December, and members of Dance Marathon’s executive board expect funds to continue flowing in. Last year, they raised an additional $14,000 after the event.

The fundraising amount announced for this year is already higher than last year’s total of $139,000—which excludes the $25,000 donation DM received from the St. Louis Community Credit Union last year.

“I’m extremely proud of what we managed to do,” Pluard said. “Our morale captains…did a great job with emceeing and making things light and funny and still connecting things to the things we work so hard for.”

Earlier this semester, they released their first-ever promotional video.

Throughout the evening, families with children who have been treated in the hospitals benefited by Dance Marathon addressed the crowd.

“My favorite experience of the night is normally being able to interact with the kids because that’s really what it’s all about,” Pluard said. “They’re really sweet; it’s a magical time for them.”

In addition to the dance floor, Dance Marathon featured performances by WUSauce, Wash. U. Hip Hop Union and WUCypher., a silent auction, a photo booth, massages by Stressbusters and free dinner and snacks.

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