Dancers, ON YOUR FEET!

“Dancers, on your feet!”  Those words from the executive council vibrated the main ballroom of the IMU.  That was the signal that the event that everybody has anticipating all year is finally beginning, the Dance Marathon 24 Big Event!

The past two days, Dance Marathon has been hosting a Radiothon.  Volunteers sat in the press box of our very own Stead Family Children’s Hospital and asked for donations over the phone.  To kick off the Big Event, representatives from University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics presented the check of the amount of money Radiothon raised.  In the two final days leading up to the Big Event, Dance Marathon raised $80,000 JUST from that event.

The entire ballroom began to chant “FTK” to commemorate the first monetary reveal of the event.  Don’t worry, it will not be the last.

Children’s Miracle Network representative Nick Coleman was then welcomed onto the main stage to tell the dancers more about the origins of Dance Marathon and where exactly all of the money fundraised goes.  He mentioned that University of Iowa Dance Marathon is the third highest fundraising Dance Marathon program in the nation!! Woo!!

To pump up the crowd even more, our Morale captains were introduced.  For the first time, the Dance Marathon 24 Morale Dance rocked the main stage.

Dance Marathon involves a lot of different people who play many different roles.  But, Dance Marathon is nothing without our courageous kiddos and families.  Family Relations director Ben Linden and Hospital Director Riley Coyle then introduced all of our families who strutted down the ballroom like the celebrities they are.  First year families walked onto the stage, all the way up to families that have attended the Big Event for twenty-three years.  No matter how many years the families have been a part of our family, they received the same size applause.

There are three types of families that are involved in Dance Marathon.  There are active families that currently have a child fighting cancer, there are forever families that have won their battle against cancer but still remain a part of our organization, and then there are dancing in our hearts families.  Those families are the ones that unfortunately had a child pass away from cancer, but they remain just as near and dear to our hearts.

Ben and Riley, then, read the names of each kiddo who is dancing in our hearts.  Following the reading of the names was a moment of silence that each and every person in that ballroom felt.

Over the course of these next 24 hours, we will get tired, our legs will hurt, and we may want to give up.  But, we will look cancer in the face and say that we will not back down.  We will never back down.  Dancers, get ready for the best 24 hours of your life.