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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's hosts 17th consecutive Dance Marathon

On Saturday, the Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon Club hosted their 17th annual marathon to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. The club raised $179,271.23 this year, and in the past 17 years, they have donated over two million dollars.

During Dance Marathon, students of the tri-campus community and families of Riley Children’s Hospital are invited to dance, sing and play games for 12 hours straight.

Courtesy of the Saint Mary's Dance Marathon CLub
The Saint Mary's Dance Marathon Club members pose together to show off the amount raised this year.

Dance Marathon began when Ryan White passed away before his first year at Indiana University. White had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS after an improper blood transfusion at age 13.

The first Dance Marathon was organized by White’s friends and held at Indiana University. Today more than 400 high schools, colleges and universities participate in Dance Marathon.

This year members of the Notre Dame football team, the University marching band, the University pom squad, Saint Mary’s cheer team, a tri-campus improv group called the Humor Artists and others performed and met the families in attendance.

Dance Marathon president Anna Monica said the event is all about celebrating the kids and raising as much money as possible. Prior to the marathon, the Dance Marathon Club holds events throughout the school year to gather donations.

“In the fall we had a 5K here at Saint Mary’s,” Mojica said. “Then in February, we had a talent show at Notre Dame called ‘Search for a Star.’”

Dance Marathon vice president of merchandise and marking, Hanna Maheras, who has been designing the apparel since the summer, showcased the newest Dance Marathon sweatshirt.

“The front says ‘follow the call,’ kind of leaving it open for interpretation, and then the back says ‘of the disco ball’ since our theme is disco,” Maheras.

The sweatshirt's longitude and latitude coordinates on the bottom, Maheras explained, are the coordinates of the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Saint Mary's sophomore Piper Ogden, who joined Dance Marathon last year as a dancer, is now on the Riley Family Committee.

“I decided to be on a committee this year because, as opposed to just coming here for one day, I wanted to reflect on the purpose and just get to know all the families,” Ogden said.

Throughout the year, Ogden said the committee sends monthly letters to some of the Riley families, and during the marathon, they introduce the families and give them gift baskets.

Emma Fabsits, a first-year at Saint Mary's, explained why she choose to participate in Dance Marathon.

“All my life, one of my family friends, she’s been chronically ill,” Fabsits said. “I feel like just doing it for her and other kids.”

Another Saint Mary's first-year, Mary Sutherland, said she did Dance Marathon to help kids and feel like making a difference. All year long, Fabsits and Sutherland have been writing letter to prospective donors.

Dance Marathon is not limited to the Saint Mary's committee, said Holy Cross sophomore Leilani Ingham, who serves as the executive of the Holy Cross Committee.

“I’m in charge of the connection between Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross,” Ingham said. “[I try] to get some Holy Cross students involved, as many as possible.”