Dance Marathon goes ‘under the sea’

Abby Zhu

Amidst dazzling lights and loud music, more than a thousand people came together Saturday afternoon to dance into the night.

The thirteenth annual St. Louis Area Dance Marathon (DM) was held in the Athletic Complex’s recreational gym on Saturday, Nov. 3rd from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Participants included members of the Washington University community as well as students from other local colleges and high schools and members of the local community.

DM celebrated a year-long fundraising effort and spread awareness of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of Greater St. Louis (CMN), a branch of the national non-profit organization. The DM proceeds will go toward two local children’s hospitals, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

“All the college kids are so nice and so engaging with the kids. They really bring them into the activities and play with the kids,” said Laura Farmer, mother of Hailey Farmer, who has been a patient at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center for 11 years. “All kinds of students come and introduce themselves. Then they ask about Haley and find out what’s going and what has happened.”

This year’s event raked in $128,569.22. While event organizers stated that there were more participators at the event this year, this amount fell short of last year’s $150,000.

Much of the money raised comes from registration fees. Registration involves paying a participation fee and either sending a minimum five fundraising letters and raising $20, or raising $150. During visiting hours, those people who had not registered had the option of paying $15 to enter the event.

Many students relied on their own personal networks to raise money.

“I just sent five emails to my friends and family, and now I have $180 in my account,” sophomore Min Tang said.

The DM executive board also held several benefit nights in the weeks preceding the event as well as a texting campaign on Oct. 25. On that day, cell phone users could text “WISH” to 80077 to donate $5 to the cause.

There was also a silent auction held outside the gym that featured items such as water bottles, sunglasses and other essentials.

The gym was divided into several different areas including the dance floor and a family tent, which provided a place for the Miracle Network families to interact with dancers throughout the night.

This year, DM tried to bring as many families from the Miracle Network as possible.

“Our biggest challenge is to get our cause out, and we really try to bring the kids’ faces to campus and have people know the kids and their stories,” junior Ali Truwit, one of the event’s organizers, said.

Student organizations from across campus and from different universities were involved. Many students stayed until the event’s conclusion at 2 a.m.

“We brought snacks and different outfits, and we are staying the whole night,” junior Jaime Zucker said during the event.

Junior Madeleine Coutre found the event both enjoyable and meaningful.

“I can’t believe how inspirational it is every year…This is my third year doing it, and it feels very similar every time, but for me personally, it’s different,” Coutre said. “I’m older and I realize that this is one of my last chances so it’s kind of sad, but I feel that I’m connected to the community. And when I see the alumni, I know I’ll come back.”

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