The seventh annual University of Indianapolis Riley Dance Marathon took place on Saturday, Feb. 6, in the Ruth Lilly Fitness Center from 2-8 p.m. UIndy for Riley surpassed its goal of $20,000 and raised $21,121.17 in donations at the event this year.
Half of the money raised by UIndy goes to Riley’s Child Life Program. The program helps Riley patients understand what they are going through while being treated. The other half of the money goes towards Riley’s general benefit fund, a fund used to support whatever section of the hospital needs help.
The Olympic-themed event kicked off with an opening ceremony featuring the Riley kids running through a tunnel of UIndy students participating in the Dance Marathon. Each Riley kid had his or her own torch made out of construction paper, with the intention of lighting the main torch, just like in the real Olympics.
Students were split into four groups to rotate through various stations every 15 minutes. One group would learn part of the line dance, while others participated in activities such as human Hungry Hungry Hippos, a bounce house bungee cord race, a shake your booty change game and an Olympic podium photo booth.
Before participants went off into their groups, UIndy for Riley President Allie Bishop told the students to look around and notice that there were
no chairs. Bishop said there would be no sitting.
“We are standing for those who can’t,” Bishop said.
Sophomore public health and promotion and pre-physical therapy major Megan Julian was one of around 100 students who participated in the Dance Marathon.
“I didn’t start going to dance marathons until college,” Julian said. “We didn’t have one at my high school, so this was a completely new experience that I had.”
Julian’s sister, who is a Riley kid, is one of her main motivators for participating in the Dance Marathon, Julian said.
“This is definitely one of my ways to show her how much I care. I know that we don’t always get along; we are sisters,” Julian said. “It does make a difference. Not just in her life, but in all of these Riley kids’ lives.”
Junior earth space science major and UIndy for Riley marketing chair Carly Nicholson said she was a Riley kid herself.
“Riley will always be my home. I feel like everybody has a Riley story,” Nicholson said. “When you interact with Riley kids, and you see them having the time of their lives, it’s a feeling that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Julian got to experience this as well.
“I found a new best friend tonight, Lily.” Julian said. “She was very special, [and] it was a great experience chasing her around.”
At the end of the Dance Marathon, Bishop announced that UIndy for Riley would be changing its name to UIndy Dance Marathon. The purpose of the name change is to clarify what the organization does and to get more people involved.
Junior nursing major and UIndy for Riley fundraising chair Katherine Spencer agrees that more people should be involved.
“If you want to get involved, we are always looking for people to help,” Spencer said. “The more people we have to help, the bigger and better we can be.”