Dance Marathon 16
DM 16 was the result of 365 days of dedication and passion put in by hundreds of students on the leadership team, countless faculty, incredible sponsors, and over 1,300 dancers all uniting for one cause. For The Kids.
Thousands of students, families, and community members gathered in the IMU for 24 hours on February 5th and 6th, 2010 to support pediatric cancer patients and their families. The event collected a record-breaking total — an impressive $1,058,658.16. As our Business Director mentioned as his team revealed the total, the country was in the worst economic crises we had seen in years, but fundraisers worked tirelessly to raise over $1 million for the third consecutive year.
But Dance Marathon isn’t just about the money.
This was a year where student leaders did not set a fundraising goal, deciding instead to focus on recommitting themselves to supporting the families. DM16 engaged students and families in a number of events both on and off campus. Students hosted patient families at Adventureland, Bloomsbury Farm, and a Fall Picnic where the only focus was to treat our Dance Marathon families and forge lasting relationships. Students invited Dance Marathon families to be a part of as many events held on campus as possible. From participating in the Homecoming show for the first time to the inaugural 100 Days Out event (complete with Money Machine!), Dance Marathon leadership made sure the families and kids we support were always the stars.
This was also the year our newest program, Dance Marathon the Marathon, really took off! After proving the concept the prior fall, over 170 participants ran the Chicago Marathon in support of UIDM. The Sponsorship and Development teams work tirelessly to establish Hometown Heroes and Mini Dance Marathon programs, both reaching across the state of Iowa. While dancers and leadership team members continued to get creative with their fundraising, UIDM was recognized at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Dance Marathon Leadership Conference for Best Letter Writing Campaign, a longtime fundraising best practice of the program.
One of the most remarkable decisions made during this year was the pledge of $1 million to help the UI Children’s Hospital revamp outdated cancer-research facilities. The gift was the largest single contribution at the time and marked a shift in funding priorities for the student-led group.
The next eight years of Dance Marathon saw incredible growth in fundraising and support of patients and their families treated at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. While there is so much to celebrate year after year, one fact will always ring true; the close and enduring relationships fostered through Dance Marathon are ones to be cherished.
From DM1 to DM25, we are always For The Kids!