Mary Porter – On Friday, February 17th, the first student-organized Dance Marathon at Davidson was held in the Lily Gallery. I spoke with Kelly Friers ’18, Brooke Rosenbaum ’19 and Nika Fendler ’19 regarding the inspiration and purpose of the Dance Marathon, the plans for which began last May. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of my interview with them:
MP: What is a Dance Marathon?
BR: Dance marathons are part of a national movement through Children’s Miracle Net- work (CMN). Schools around the U.S. hold these events ranging from 5 to 48 hours with the purpose of raising money and awareness for CMN sponsored hospitals in the area of the institution. We dance, play games, watch student performances, and hear stories from children who were treated at the beneficiary hospital. Everything we do is FTK (for the kids!).
MP: Why was the Levine Children’s Hospital chosen as the beneficiary of the Dance Marathon?
KF: Dance Marathon is a movement that was created by Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) to benefit local CMN hospitals. Levine Children’s Hospital is the nearest CMN’s hospital to Davidson, and therefore is our beneficiary.
BR: It is an incredible institution that was named the best children’s hospital for its cardiology and heart surgery, nephrology, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery in 2016-2017. Not only do they provide advanced medical care, but they strive to create a comfortable and enjoyable environment for the children and their families to mitigate some of the stresses of being hospital bound. The hospital thrives on donations from benefactors and Dance Marathons.
MP: How many people attended your event? KF: I believe we had between 70 and 75 people registered to dance which is a great turnout for our first event!
BR: Six families with children who were treated at LCH [also attended].
MP: How much money did your event raise, approximately?
KF: We raised $6469.84 FTK! Our goal was $5000. We had no idea we were going to see a number this high, but blew the goal away with help from the generosity of dancers and donors and could not be happier to be able to give this money to Levine Children’s. BR: We do still have some donations trickling in, so the actual total will be even higher.
MP: Are there future fundraising plans for the Levine Children’s Hospital?
KF: Yes, there are future plans! We are planning on making Davidson Dance Marathon an annual event and continue to help raise money for LCH. The kids are constantly fighting their battles and the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are constantly working to help them, so we want to be able to constantly support in any way we can. We are always looking for more people to help out and get involved in our mission—anyone who is interested should let me know and I’ll be sure to get in touch with you.
BR: [Additionally,] we plan to hold events throughout the year to raise awareness and funds for LCH, including a book drive, guest speakers from the hospital, and the celebration of Child Health Day (October 3rd). MP: Why is this cause important to you?
NF: This cause is extremely important to me because of the amazing work they do at Levine’s Children’s Hospital and the lives of all the kids who have been treated there and have been able to leave as healthy, happy children. I also think it’s really important for Davidson students to be able to support our local community and give back. The funds we were able to raise for the hospital this year showed me that it is possible as college students to make an impact in our community.
KF: This cause is so important to me because I’ve seen what these children’s hospitals can do. I grew up in Central Pennsylvania where Mini-THONs were held in high schools across the state, including mine. Mini- THON left a lasting impression on me, and I was thrilled when I saw the opportunity to bring one to Davidson. After meeting the Miracle Kids and their families, and seeing how happy and healthy they are because of what LCH did, it is hard to not be on their side.
BR: Everyone on [the Dance Marathon’s executive board] has a personal interest in raising money and awareness for LCH. Oth- er than my strong belief that children suffering from life-threatening illnesses should be a healthcare priority, I spent significant amount of time with foster children in hospitals over the years. I experienced the stresses of a hospital environment and the effects of enduring prolonged hospital stays. When I visited LCH, it was unlike any hospital I had ever been to…It is cheery, well decorated and they provide a number of resources for children and families to relax or educate themselves. I am honored to have put on the first of many Dance Marathons in the name of LCH.
You can learn more about the Dance Marathon and donate through their website: http://dcdancemarathon.wixsite.com/catst- honwild/donate