UIS hosts second annual Dance Marathon

Tamarra Newbern, News Reporter

On Friday, March 4 the second annual UIS Dance Marathon, an event to raise money and awareness for St. John’s Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network, took place at TRAC from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.

The fundraising began in September and lasted all the way up until the day of Dance Marathon. Students, faculty, community members, and families of children from the local children’s hospital danced and had fun to support and raise as much money as possible.

The Dance Marathon largely came to campus because of UIS student LeAnna Kehl. Kehl visited another university and participated in their dance marathon, which led to her thinking, “UIS didn’t have a huge event for students to participate in, and it’s a great way to support and raise money,” Kehl said.

Additionally, UIS student Sophia Matthews, a criminal justice major, helped Kehl to bring the Dance Marathon to campus.

Kehl said that, “People should participate because every dollar makes a difference to these kids.”

The event kicked off by introducing the “morale team,” who taught a specific dance to the participants of Dance Marathon so that everyone could perform the dance at the end of the night.

Additionally, throughout the event, families told their stories about their children and what they go through on a day-to-day basis.

Throughout the event, Dance Marathon had four different themes, each lasting for two hours. The themes were: Around the World, Hollywood, ‘90s to 2000s, and Rave. The themes incorporated both dancing and singing.

For the Around the World theme, students from the African Student Association, Indian Dance Organization, and Asian Student Organization danced and sang.

There were also different stations for participants to take part in. The stations included: soccer, an inflatable obstacle course, badminton, basketball, and dancing.

Although the event had many fun activities, the awareness and money raised went to a very serious cause.

Matthews said, “Everyone can relate [to the cause]. You’ve been sick before. Everyone knows how it feels to feel sick or left. So it’s important to know and be a part of Dance Marathon because it’s a way to give kids their childhoods back.”

Although the children in attendance may have been sick, Dance Marathon was a way to alleviate their sickness for the time being. After most songs and dances, the volunteers and participants gathered and chanted “FTK,” which stands for “for the kids.”

UIS student Arranda Gardner, business administration major, attended Dance Marathon and stated, “My favorite part was writing letters to the CMN families. Even though I don’t know them, I still care.”

By the end of the night, Dance Marathon raised over $6,000 for St. John’s Children’s Hospital.