At the eighth annual University of Indianapolis Dance Marathon, the students, faculty and staff did more than just dance. By participating in the event held on Saturday, Feb. 11, they took part in changing a child’s life, following the slogan for this year was “No One Fights Alone.”
During the dance marathon, dancers participated in events such as knock-out, tug-of-war and nine-in-the-air square. The participants also learned a choreographed dance. They learned a new part of it at the top of each hour, and by the end of the night had learned it in its entirety.
Sophomore exercise science major Brianna Myers participated in the UIndy Dance Marathon for the second year in a row.
“I wanted to work at Riley, and I never had a dance marathon in high school,” she said. “I like to support the kids that can’t come and that aren’t able to be here to dance with us.”
The donations raised by UIndy DM are split two ways. Half of the money goes toward Riley’s Child Life Program that helps those in need at Riley, and the other half goes towards a general research fund.
According to sophomore human biology and pre-occupational therapy major and Executive Athletic and RSO Outreach Chair Katie Goss, UIndy Dance Marathon not only helps bring awareness to a great cause, it also helps show those who are not affected by cancer or other illnesses the importance of the cause.
“Dance Marathon is a great way to show students that not every family at Riley has a support system and this is a way that I can be involved with them without personally knowing a family,” Goss said.
Senior pre-art therapy major and President of UIndy DM Allie Bishop was a Riley Kid when she was growing up. She said the big rule of the night was “No Sitting.”
“[The reason for] the rule is because we stand for those who can’t,” Bishop said. “The minimal amount of pain you’re going through is in reality nothing compared to what those in the hospital are going through.”
Both Goss and Bishop agreed that in the future, they’d like to see registration grow. This year, 121 dancers were registered. Bishop said she wants to see the community and the university become more involved.
“In my four years, I know we’ve grown immensely, but I also know that there is a lot more UIndy DM can do to grow,” she said. “I know there are people on campus who know about us, but don’t know what our mission is. We just really need to spread the word more.”
Before the end of the night, the total amount raised was announced. This year the goal was $29,000, and UIndy DM went about raising the donations in different ways. A couple of events they held included tie-dying shirts and socks and a Buffalo Wild Wings night. Members also had their own fundraising page connected to Riley Children’s Hospital. By the end of the night, UIndy Dance Marathon exceeded their goal and raised $34,266.88.
Goss said that she would like to see the misconception that all people do is dance the entire time disappear.
“It’s about playing with the kids, playing the games and hearing the stories…. The families here will thank you 10,000 times in one night, and it really puts everything in perspective that there are people out there who have it way worse. It makes you feel good, and if you’re having a bad day and you come to this, your whole day is changed.”