In a city known for dancing, students have decided to bring the rhythm back to campus — for a good cause.
Dance Marathon, a charity event to benefit ill children that sprouted at Penn State University and has spread to over 80 universities across the nation, will take place at the University of Miami for the first time on Nov. 1, from 2 to 8 p.m. [Date corrected]
While the event’s name implies otherwise, Dance Marathon no longer focuses on the dancing aspect as it once did. Today, students spend their time standing at the event, as a symbolic gesture representing the difficulties that children, affected by such illnesses, and their families face.
“Last spring, I saw that some of my friends from Florida State [University] and Florida were involved in Dance Marathon,” said Anjoly Ibrahim, the co-chair and visionary behind Dance Marathon at Miami. “When they told me what it was about, I decided I wanted to bring it to Miami.”
Dance Marathon itself is under the umbrella of the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization which prides itself on a policy that requires that no child is ever turned way from medical treatment.
“The idea of Children’s Miracle Network is to help kids receive treatment from everything from broken bones to battling cancer,” said Kimberly Thompson, the other co-chair of the organization. “Dance Marathon gives college students an outlet to support this benevolent cause.”
Nationally, the event raises over $5.2 million per year, which benefits local children’s hospitals and other charities.
The Dance Marathon executive board, at Miami, plans on doing its small part as the board has set the bar, in its commencement year, to raise at least $12,000.
“It’s a pretty cool fact that all the money stays completely local,” Thompson said. “[It's] unlike other charities that use a central fund dispersal, which takes more time [to disperse the funds] and also takes money off the top.”
One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by the Dance Marathon organization at UM will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and, at a local level, Miami Children’s Hospital.
Besides this, the event aims to raise awareness for the children and families of the Miami Children’s Hospital through a six-hour event that will feature dancing and entertainment.
“The purpose of Dance Marathon is to provide financial and emotional support to families and children of Miami Children’s Hospital,” Thomson said. “[UM Dance Marathon] hopes to raise awareness and strives to engage and empower students and the community to build relationships and heighten social awareness by raising funds in a creative, energetic and inspiring manner.”
Students can get involved in the event by participating as a dancer, which requires raising $50, or by donating to the cause at www.umdancemarathon.org.
“For as standard as it sounds, the kids truly are the reason all this is worth it,” Ibrahim said. “Knowing that you are making a difference in a child’s life is all I need to feel enthused about all the time and effort that the board and I are spending in putting this event together.”