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Marathon raises money for hospital

Jillian Barwick | Monday, April 2, 2012

Dancing continues to be more than just fun for many members of the Belles community.

The seventh annual Dance Marathon held at Saint Mary’s on Saturday raised over $80,000 for the Riley Hospital for Children, which helps needy families seeking medical care.

Rebecca Guerin, president of the Dance Marathon, said she was impressed with this year’s fundraising total.

“Last year we raised $63,248, so this year we took on the 20 percent challenge from the foundation, which meant that our goal was to raise $75,898,” Guerin said. “I was speechless when the total was revealed at $80,523.57. It was the best feeling in the world knowing that we exceeded our initial goal and beat last year’s total by 27.3 percent, especially in this economy.”

The theme of the 12-hour dance marathon was “Animal Kingdom,” Guerin said.

“We definitely got the theme right this year,” she said. “The dancers came dressed in crazy animal attire, and it was really great to see the excitement!”

The event featured live animals, including a baby lion and a baby kangaroo. Songs about animals also played in the background, Guerin said.

“We had an animal show early in the marathon that included various animals from bunnies to snakes,” she said. “The show was great because everyone could pet the animals after the show.”

Guerin said the most exciting part of the night was the exotic animals brought in by a company from Michigan.

“The lion cub, baby kangaroo, fennec fox and an exotic bird were among the exotic animals at the event,” she said. “It was so cool being able to interact with the animals, especially the lion cub.”

Over 15 Riley families spoke at the event, a record number, according to Guerin.

“Many people don’t realize how much of an impact the money we all raise makes a difference for the Riley families,” she said. “Riley Hospital for Children never turns away a child due to their inability to pay for care or lack of insurance.”

Guerin said she credits the success of the event to the team who organized the dance.

“Having a great group of girls working together towards this goal was amazing,” she said. “I honestly had the best executive board and committee members that anyone could ask for.”