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SMC partners with ND for dance marathon

Meghan Manning | Friday, March 26, 2010

 For four years, students have been flocking to Saint Mary’s campus decked out in their best dancing shoes and ready for a 12-hour marathon of movement to benefit the Riley’s Children’s Hospital. Tonight’s event promises not only to fulfill the legacy established by the annual fundraiser, but also to be the biggest Dance Marathon yet. 

For the first time, the Saint Mary’s team is collaborating with Notre Dame’s Pre-Professional Society to host the marathon. 
“Last year’s event raised just under $100, 000 for Riley with four hundred students,” Pre-Professional Society Riley chairperson Nikki Sullivan said. 
She has partnered with Kelly Deranek, Saint Mary’s senior and president of Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon, to plan the event. 
“This year we hope to exceed that with more contributions from Notre Dame students,” Sullivan said. 
The partnership with a club on the Notre Dame campus has been made to increase awareness about the event in the hopes that it will generate more contributions for the hospital. 
“We are really excited that this year Notre Dame will get to be involved and be able to continue to support the children of Indiana through a lasting relationship with Saint Mary’s and Dance Marathon,” Caitlin Aguiar, vice president of Public Relations and Marketing for the Pre-Professional Committee, said. 
Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon was named Best New Marathon at the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon Leadership Conference 2006. 
Saint Mary’s, and now Notre Dame, is one of numerous schools in the United States to host dancing marathons for the Children’s Miracle Network. Since the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon was founded in 1991, students at over 100 universities and colleges across the country “throw the biggest party of the year for the children at their local hospital,” states the organization’s Web site. 
The first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon’s Mission statement sums it all up: “We dance for those who can’t.”
Tonight’s participants will be dancing for the patient’s of Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indiana. As the state’s only comprehensive children’s hospital, Riley’s treats over 200,000 families each year.
Riley is ranked number one in the United States in treating complex illnesses, according to the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, and among the top 20 children’s hospitals in the U.S., according to Parent’s Magazine. 
Riley’s will treat any child, regardless of their ability to pay.
The event, which is Hollywood themed this year, is much more than dancing, as it also includes live entertainment, a DJ, video games, a moon bounce, inflatable twisters and prizes. 
“Riley families also come out to support,” Aguiar said. “So it gives students a great opportunity to meet them.” 
The Dance Marathon begins at 8 p.m. at Angela Athletic Facility on Saint Mary’s Campus. Registration can be completed online at www.nd.edu/~medinfo or at 7 p.m. at the door.