On Sunday Nov. 11, Valparaiso University Greek life hosted the inaugural Dance Marathon. Student organizations from across campus registered their members to come and remain on their feet for the entire six-hour event, which raised $10,417.07 for Riley Children’s Hospital.
The event included choreographed dances taught and led by Valpo’s ballroom, cheer, and dance teams, as well as open dance where music was played for the participants to dance as they pleased. Each group of students represented a different child from Riley Children’s Hospital.
Riley Children’s Hospital has served Indiana’s children for 87 years with more than 350,000 inpatients and outpatient visits each year. Riley treats more than 80 percent of Indiana’s children diagnosed with cancer. At Riley, no child is turned away regardless of their ability to pay; therefore, they must rely on philanthropies, such as the Dance Marathon, in order to serve all the children they do.
In addition to staying on their feet for the entire six hours, participants had the opportunity to hear speakers touched by the Children’s Miracle Network and Riley Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t think the participants in this year’s Dance Marathon can even fathom the number of lives they have changed,” said speaker and Valpo student Hayden O’Shaughnessy.
O’Shaughnessy was diagnosed with acute lympholastic leukemia at 23 months and was treated at Riley Children’s Hospital. With the help of Riley, she was in remission 26 months later.
“I walked into the ballrooms on Sunday and immediately started tearing up,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Riley is the reason why I am alive today. I am eternally grateful for each and every person that participated and donated to such an amazing cause.”
Dance Marathons are a nationwide event whose mission statement is simple: “We dance for those who can’t.” One hundred percent of the proceeds go to benefit Children’s Miracle Network and local children’s hospitals. Last year, college dance marathons alone raised more than $8 million. Valpo organized the event in order to hopefully make that number even higher this year.
The Dance Marathon Executive Board included Katie Dayman, Tori Brewton, Olivia Findley, James Lockridge, Brian Borth, Lindsey Dever, and Brittany Gaffney. They worked hard every day to bring the event to life. The Valparaiso University community came together, forming a sea of brightly colored shirts and balloons, to dance the afternoon away for all the children who are unable to do so.