According to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, 62 children enter their facilities every minute across the country. It’s for these children that Weber State University students are holding a fundraising dance marathon.

WSUSA members ready to welcome dancer participants. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost)
WSUSA members ready to welcome dancer participants. (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost) Photo credit: Signpost Archives

WSU’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a year-long event that raises money for Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. It ends with a six-hour-long event.

The Miracle Network Dance Marathon was started in 1991 by students at Indiana University in tribute to a student who died of HIV/AIDS. Today, over 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools are involved.

CMN Hospitals is a non-profit organization that raises funds for over 170 pediatric hospitals in North America. It is entirely student-run, and all donations go directly to the hospitals involved.

WSU’s big year-end dance marathon event will occur both online and in-person on April 10. Dancing, snacks, games, races and prizes will be provided. There will also be opportunities to connect to the miracle children and their families to learn about their stories.

The money raised goes toward equipment, facilities, research and expressive therapies in art, music and dance. Additionally, it helps cover the cost of medical bills for families who may not be able to afford their child’s treatments. This year’s fundraising goal is $14,000.

According to CMN Hospitals, the program raised over $44 million in 2019. Since it was founded in 1991, the program has raised over $300 million.

Leslie Davis, WSU Dance Marathon chair, thinks the slogan “For the kids” best exemplifies the purpose for the team’s fundraising efforts.

“There are so many kids who have to miss out on regular childhoods because they’re stuck at a hospital, and it’s even worse when they can’t pay for it,” Davis said.

The Dance Marathon team has held smaller-scale events throughout the 2020-21 academic year to help push funds and get more people involved in the program.

This year’s fundraising efforts began at the beginning of Sept. 2020 with a launch week in which different challenges and competitions were held on Instagram.

Coming up, there will be a “Valentines for the Kids” event held from Feb. 10-12. One of the activities will include a fundraising competition where, if students raise $15 or more by the end of the week, they will be entered to win a gift card.

There will also be a table set up in the Shepherd Union Building those days where candies will given out and people can write Valentine’s Day cards for the children currently at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Different stories about the children will also be posted on social media for students to read throughout the week.

“I think that everyone should be involved with [the] dance marathon before they leave Weber State,” said Hannah Olsen, senate president and a dance marathon ambassador. “It is such an awesome experience to be able to raise money for such a great cause.”

Dance Marathon held an event in October for Child Health Day.
Dance Marathon held an event in October for Child Health Day. Photo credit: WSUSA

One way students can get involved is by becoming a dance marathon ambassador, like Olsen. The ambassadors’ primary duty is helping and providing support to the WSUSA Activities team in planning the events, posting on social media, recruiting people to make donation teams and reaching out to potential sponsors.

“Being involved in [the] dance marathon is just really rewarding, because usually, we get to talk to the families and children that are directly affected by Children’s Miracle Network and the amazing work they do,” Olsen said.

There are currently five dance marathon ambassadors, but the program is actively looking for more students to join in helping spread the word about different fundraising activities and events.

Other than becoming an ambassador, one may also get involved by making their own donations to the program and attending the events.

Another way to get involved is by registering a donation team with friends and family. All the team members can help out in making donations rather than having a singular person contribute.

Donations can be made online and offline.

“I think it’s hard during the pandemic to ask for donations and fundraising, but if you’re going to prioritize, I think this is a great priority to have — helping those children’s hospitals so that they can continue to help the kids who come by,” Davis said.

For more information on the Miracle Network Dance Marathon and how to get involved, email Davis at lesliedavis@mail.weber.edu or visit their Dance Marathon website.

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