Eight-hour marathon benefits Miami Children’s Hospital

Senior Julie Martinez (right) moves around as she teaches a Zumba class at the Dance Marathon in the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse on Sunday. Dance Marathon is a national philanthropy event that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Dance Marathon at UM fundraises for Miami Children’s Hospital. Monica Herndon // Assistant Photo Editor 

Students busted a move for charity during Dance Marathon for eight hours on Sunday.

The event took place at the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and raised money for Miami Children’s Hospital. This year’s theme was Under the Sea, which CanesDM hoped would appeal to both children and college students.

In attendance were Miracle families, the families of children who suffered from illnesses or diseases and whose treatments were completely funded by the Children’s Miracle Network.

“Dance Marathon is a fun, different way to raise money for the families who otherwise face a huge emotional burden, along with the physical and mental,” said sophomore Jennifer Rizzo, the co-chair of Dance Marathon. “The money benefits our community and takes a huge load off their shoulders. When they come and share their stories, it puts a face to what you’re working for.”

To date, the group has raised $10,000, twice what they raised last year, according to Rizzo.

Each hour, participants were taught a short dance to a contemporary song. At the end of the marathon, all of the songs were put together in celebration of the work done by the Children’ s Miracle Network.

“We tried to pick from a bunch of different genres and songs that would be fun to learn, nothing stressful,” said sophomore Tess Flannery.

The event also featured performances from SwaggeRaas and Kaos, a raffle, and activities by UDoodle. Students played games such as corn hole, dodge ball and hula hoops all in an effort to stay up and moving, in a symbolic representation of the children who cannot.

“I’ve danced for so long and I decided to join because this is such a huge organization that is so impactful,” said junior Jackie Casal. “I joined because I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. Although at UM it’s a smaller organization than at some other campuses, it’s still a nice event that helps people.”

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Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.