Dance Marathon Raises Money, Awareness for University Children’s Hospital

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

Participants in the IU dance marathon move to the music eighteen hours into the 24 hour event, Saturday February 5, 2011 Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa Campus. The annual event, one of the biggest dance marathon organizations in the U.S., raised money to benefit the UI Children's Hospital. (Becky Malewitz/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Kelli Sutterman

IOWA CITY, Iowa - A few thousand dancing machines spent the last 24 hours bustin’ a move as part of the fight against cancer.

In the 17th year of the dance marathon, University of Iowa students raised funds for University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

But this week’s blizzard did more than just put some cars into snow drifts.

“The snow definitely put a damper on things we definitely had to cancel some of our activities early in the week,” said Dance Marathon Executive Chair Sarah Freed.

But Mother Nature didn’t stop more than 2,400 dancers from cutting loose at the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus.

“It’s really neat to see all us kids who give up a weekend for such a great cause,” said Freed.

Over the years, the dance marathons have raised $8.6 million. All proceeds from the event go to the University Children’s Hospital to help out more than 1,000 families.

“We’re able to really help with financial things, put money toward specialized equipment, and education materials,” said University Children’s Hospital Michelle Altmaier.

“Whether it be for comfort, where we provide TVs or game systems for kids to play along with, or child life specialists, along with some research we’re working on,” said Freed.

Each year about 40 new kids are diagnosed with cancer at the hospital so the need is growing and ongoing. But there's more than just the dollars raised this weekend…

“These college kids are at our site every single day playing with these kids and giving our families a break,” said Altmaier.

“It’s neat to bring a smile to their face,” said Freed.

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