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SMC honored with Riley room

Caitlin Housley | Monday, February 28, 2011

The eighth floor of the newly built Simon Family Tower of the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis will now have even greater significance for Saint Mary’s students.

Room W8118, which serves as a patient room for the children’s hospital, has been dedicated as the Saint Mary’s room, said Katie Fadden, fundraising president of Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon.

“There will be a sign outside of the room that reads, ‘A gift from Saint Mary’s College Dance Marathon,'” Fadden said. “It is quite an honor to have a patient room named on our behalf.”

Fadden said Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon received the honor because Saint Mary’s dancers have raised more than $320,000 for Riley over the past six years.

“We are so excited to be honored in this way because it is something that all of our hard work and dedication over the past six years can be remembered by,” Becca Guerin, the external vice president of the dance marathon, said.

According to Guerin, the members of the Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon executive board will travel to Indianapolis in April to receive the award, see the room, meet with doctors and visit the patients.

She said all members of the Notre Dame community, not just the Saint Mary’s students, should be proud.

“I think that our Dance Marathon reflects very highly of the Notre Dame community because we are all able to come together and raise money for such a great cause,” she said.

The marathon first began on campus in 2006, and since then, students have pledged to stay on their feet for 12 hours one day a year to raise awareness and money for the hospital.

“Riley is Indiana’s only children’s comprehensive hospital and is a leader in providing treatment and research for sick children,” Fadden said. “Most importantly, they will never turn a family away for their inability to pay for their child’s treatment. As a result, over 50 percent of their care is uncompensated.”

Fadden, along with fundraising chair Kelli Minor, said this lack of compensation is why they urge members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community to participate in the event every year.

“As healthy, happy college students having the time of our lives, I think it is important to participate in Dance Marathon, to be able to give back and help others who truly need it,” Fadden said.

Minor added: “Riley is an amazing place because, being a Children’s Miracle Network hospital, they give away over 50 percent of their services at no cost and never turn away families due to their financial situations. Dance Marathon at Saint Mary’s is important in helping keep these services available by providing funds to the hospital to help treat sick children who may not be able to afford their care.”

The Dance Marathon event will be held Saturday from noon to midnight.

According to Minor, this year’s goal is to improve from last year’s $77,000 raised.

Saint Mary’s dancers can still sign up for the event in the Student Center atrium during lunch and dinner hours. Notre Dame students can register online via the pre-professional society website, found at www.nd.edu/~medinfo/

“One of the things I love most about Dance Marathon is that participants have the time of their lives while helping to save lives,” Fadden said.

Students, faculty and community members are welcome to take part in the event.