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Fundraising event dances to $15,000

By CAMERON BOLTON

On Saturday, March 9 Drake University held a Dance Marathon to raise funds for the  University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. According to Stephanie Theofilis, the executive director of the dance marathon and a health service management major, the marathon was the culmination of a fundraising effort that started around September. The marathon also include activities besides dance.

“We do like fun, different events throughout the day. We have a jail upstairs, so the kids get to ‘arrest you’ and then you have to fundraise two dollars to get out of jail, so we fundraise like that,” Theofilis said.

Theofilis also stated that the event featured mostly independent fundraising.

People would sign up throughout the year and set goals for their teams, which lead up to the marathon. The event was part of Miracle Network Dance Marathon where each school could have their own separate sort of dance marathon.  

Besides dancing and getting “arrested,” there was also an inflatable playground and a superhero and princess party for the attendees to enjoy. The marathon also featured the chance for Miracle Families to tell their stories.

“Our miracle families, we have three families, four kids, this year. So those three families each go up and tell their story of their experience at the University of Iowa Stead,” Theofilis said.  “There have been kids who have been treated at University of Stead Families Children hospital and they basically just get to share their story and kind of shed some light on what’s happening while we’re fundraising.”

Family stories were told, participants learned and danced to the morale dance taught throughout the event, and there was a reveal at the end of the night for the amount of money they raised.

“We hold up the total that we raised this year,” Theofilis said. “And the fun thing is that the kids get to come hang out with us and—we get to celebrate them as much as the people who have been fundraising.”

The event started at 11:15 am and went to 7 p.m. Contestants were asked to stand during the entire time period. Lunch and dinner was provided for all the participants of the marathon. The event was held in the upper levels of Olmstead, save for lunch and dinner, where the participants came downstairs in order to get their food.

“I decided to attend because I had heard about it from my other friends at other colleges, so when I had found out that Drake started this organization here last year I decided I wanted to get involved as well,” Abbey Bowers said. Bowers is a Business Major at Drake who attended the marathon with her friends from the social sorority Alpha Phi.

The participants of the marathon did not need to know how to dance, as the marathon had instructors. Together, according to Bowers, the participants learned the moves to a combination dance that had a lot of different dance styles and different songs. Music played during the event which included both a DJ and performances from a cappella groups

Sophomore McKenna McCreedy was the “moral captain” at the marathon. Her responsibility include encouraging participants, getting them excited and helping them raise money leading up to the event.

“The turnout this year was great,” McCreedy said. “It was much larger than it was last year, and I think that it is going to keep growing as the years go on and more and more people know about it! I had a really great time and I am excited to get more involved next year and make it bigger and better.”

The donation goal was set for $20,000, according to McCreedy. Although the goal wasn’t quite reached, Drake Dance Marathon was still able to raise $15,461.75, $2,200 more than the previous year. McCreedy said she believes that they will be able to reach their goal next year.

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