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Dance Marathon announces theme

Alex Winegar | Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Belles will don ten-gallon hats and snakeskin boots at this year’s country western themed 2013-2014 Dance Marathon. The theme for the annual Saint Mary’s event was announced Tuesday at the group’s “First Year Call Out” event.

Junior co-president Kristen Millar said the Dance Marathon raises funds and awareness for the young patients of Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.

“It was started nine years ago by a girl who was really passionate about doing dance marathons and really wanted to do something to help her community and kids who are less fortunate,” Millar said.

Throughout the year Dance Marathon sponsors several events including flash mobs, EMX and Dance Marathon merchandise sales and an annual 5k walk/run, Millar said.

The main event will take place April 5, she said.

“What you try to do is stay on your feet for a full 12 hours in order to raise money for these kids,” Millar said.

Last year, the Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon raised a grand total of $104,374.83 for Riley’s Children Hospital, but Millar said the work is not about reaching a goal but rather having a lasting impact on Riley families.

“It’s just something fun, even if we don’t hit our goal, because it’s more about awareness than anything else,” she said.

Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon has had such an exceptional relationship with the Riley organization for the past nine years that Saint Mary’s has a room in the hospital, Millar said.

“Saint Mary’s actually has their own room and it’s really cool because if you ever go there, they can take you to see it,” she said.

Millar said she has been involved with Dance Marathon since she was in high school, and her favorite part is meeting Riley families that benefited from raised funds.

“I think something that really stuck with me was one man said ‘you are beautifully and fearfully made,'” she said. “His one child was having procedure after procedure and nothing seemed to be working, but they just prayed, and against all odds the child made it.”

Millar said the goal of Tuesday’s event was to introduce first year students to Dance Marathon.

“I hope that freshmen learn about what Dance Marathon is and that they are excited about this event, but mostly I want people to come to our marathon and really experience it for themselves,” she said.

At the event, Millar and co-president, senior Ellen Smith, explained the two different ways first year students could get involved.

“First Year Committee is just made of freshmen and their main objective is to really reach out to the freshmen who haven’t necessarily been in this environment before and haven’t seen all the Dance Marathon propaganda around campus,” Millar said. “Miracle workers mostly focus on the day of the marathon by helping with the event getting started and helping with set up and clean up.”

Millar said she is excited not only for freshmen to get involved but is looking forward to beginning the year.

“Realizing how much you can actually do to help these kids by hearing the stories, seeing all the smiles on their faces and knowing you’re making a difference is what really hits home,” she said.