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Annual Riley luncheon honors Dance Marathon

Kimberly Westphal | Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Saint Mary’s College-Notre Dame Dance Marathon (SMC-ND DM) executive officers were invited to the annual Hope Happens Here Luncheon for the Riley Children’s Foundation in Indianapolis on Friday.

“The Annual Riley luncheon is one of my favorite events to attend because it helps put into perspective what Dance Marathon helps support,” president Rebecca Guerin said.

Junior Amy Tiberi, vice president of internal relations for the SMC-ND DM, said around 1,500 people attended the Hope Happens Here luncheon. All of the attendees were donors to Riley Children’s Hospital in some way. Also in attendance were Riley patients, parents and doctors, as well as executives for the hospital, Indiana University and Butler University.

“It was a reminder of what Dance Marathon does for the patients and staff of Riley,” Tiberi said. “It was renewing and made me much more motivated to make this an amazing year for our marathon.”

The luncheon is an annual meeting to touch base with all the donors and let them know how their profits have been put to good use at Riley Children’s Hospital, she said. The Riley Board of Governors, amongst other speakers, expressed gratitude toward the donors and detailed plans for future fundraisers.

Junior Maureen Parsons, vice president of finance for the marathon, said the luncheon was an opportunity for the Riley Foundation to thank those who have given to Riley over the last year, including SMC-ND DM.

“People, including Riley’s CEO and President, spoke to the attendees, and we saw videos of what Riley is doing for kids and their families,” Parsons said. “It reminded our executives of why we spend all year raising money and awareness for Riley Hospital.”

In addition, eight Riley patients were recognized as 2012 Riley Champions for their ability to inspire others and raise awareness in their communities, which made an impact on multiple SMC-ND Dance Marathon executives.

Parsons said the Riley Champions shared their stories and helped others understand all the amazing work continually done by Riley Children’s Hospital.

“Some of these kids would not be alive today if it weren’t for the doctors are Riley Hospital,” she said. “I could tell that the champions really built a relationship with the doctors and nurses who had made them feel at home during their visits.”

Senior David Fosselman, Notre Dame DM executive, said the luncheon was an great experience for him and the other executives.

“Two years ago I volunteered to be a counselor at Camp Riley — it is a summer camp for the children at Riley,” Fosselman said. “While I was at the luncheon, I was able to see some of my old campers and co-counselors, which was nice and unexpected.”

Senior Elizabeth Downs, DM campus relations executive, said the luncheon made her especially excited for the marathon in the spring.

“I had a great time. It makes me really excited for the actual marathon because I have a newfound gratitude for where all our donations go,” said Downs. “It makes me realize that what we’re all doing really makes a difference.”