There is a new organization on campus called the Drake University Dance Marathon, and although it just became official last week, co-presidents Becca Mataloni and Katie Weiler are already busy making strides toward a great charity event for next year.
The Drake University Dance Marathon is a 12 hour-long dance party benefiting the Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. The organization is affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network and will work to raise money for children suffering from cancer and other diseases.
Helping people is the main goal for the marathon and Mataloni and Weiler are devoted to getting their message out. Weiler talked about the goals of the marathon.
“We just want to raise awareness of what these kids are going through,” she said. “We also want to raise money for these kids because we give them hope by being there. Who’s going to fight for the 6-month-old working against cancer? We will, and that’s why we raise the money.”
So, why a dance marathon to help these kids? Well, it worked in the past for hundreds of schools across America, including many here in Iowa.
“In Iowa City they have raised over $8 million through dance marathons,” Mataloni said. “They added a whole new wing to the hospital just from dance marathon money over 15 years. They’re all over the country, why shouldn’t Drake have one?”
The Dance Marathon is exactly what it sounds like: 12 hours of dancing, food, competitions and fun. The marathon also gives participants a chance to meet some of the kids their contributions will help. Meeting with the kids and getting to know them is one of Mataloni’s favorite aspects of the marathon.
“I’m most excited just to see the kids,” she said. “When you see them laying there in a hospital bed it just makes you want to do something, to help them. To see them, play games, get to know the families is so inspiring, it’s just such an awesome organization.”
The Dance Marathon is also aiming to get much of the Drake community involved, not just the students. It’s open to everyone who wants to participate. All you have to do is raise $100, which Mataloni said isn’t hard because there are many organizations devoted to sponsoring marathons just like this one.
“It will be Drake students, professors, we also want to contact local high schools and get students to dance, it’s open to anyone,” Mataloni said. “We just want to involve all of Des Moines for this great cause.”
Along with the marathon itself, the participants also get the chance to get to know patients personally. It’s all about encouraging them to keep fighting, whether it is visiting them in the hospital, playing games or even visiting a pumpkin patch to lift spirits.
The Drake Dance Marathon is slated for February 2012 in Parents Hall. There will be an informational meeting this Friday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. in lower Olmsted for anyone who is interested in helping out.
The meeting will discuss the details of the marathon and create committees for food, sponsorship and other overviews for people who don’t know much about it. The organization is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Friday, Nov. 12 – Dance Marathon will have an informational meeting at 5 p.m. in Lower Olmsted for anyone interested in helping out. Details will be dicussed and committees created.