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SMC Dance Marathon raises over $90,000

| Monday, March 30, 2015

Saturday, Saint Mary’s students laced up their dancing shoes in support of the College’s 10th annual Dance Marathon and raised a total of $90,322.94.

The 12-hour marathon benefitted Riley Hospital for Children, a Children’s Miracle Network hospital in Indianapolis, and this year’s theme was superheroes, senior Nora Clougherty, catering executive chair for Dance Marathon, said.

“It’s the Riley kids who are the real superheroes, we just help them fly,” Clougherty said. 

All funds raised at the marathon benefit the hospital’s general fund and ensure that all children are treated at Riley regardless of their ability to pay, she said.

Local families treated at Riley came to Angela Athletic Facility throughout the day to share their stories and motivate the dancers to stay on their feet all day. The event lasted from noon to midnight, according to a College press release.

Within those 12 hours, Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon raised more than $9,000, which is the highest amount the organization has ever raised on the day of the marathon, senior Kristen Millar, internal president, said.

Millar said she hoped the event would raise awareness and funds for Riley as well as give people the opportunity to have fun dancing in support of the hospital.

The dancers at the event were encouraged to stay on their feet for the duration of the marathon. Entertainment at the event included learning the choreographed group dance, a bounce house, three meals, listening to the stories from Riley families, live performances by Pat McKillen, the Notre Dame Pep Band, Bellacappella, Irish dance team and the Saint Mary’s cheer team, according a college press release.

Ten years ago, Francesca Johnson, a Saint Mary’s alumna from the class of 2009, created the Dance Marathon organization at the College. She returned to Saint Mary’s to attend the event’s 10th anniversary, she said.

Johnson said she was inspired by her brother’s work as an executive at Indiana University’s Dance Marathon and decided to start the marathon at Saint Mary’s her freshman year. The first year, they raised $21,000, she said.

“I had been in children’s hospitals when I was little, so doing something for the Children’s Miracle Network was very near and dear to my heart,” Johnson said. “Wanting to do Dance Marathon at a school that I loved was a very natural thing.”

Sarah Voss Reed, Johnson’s classmate and a member of the founding group, said she was thrilled to see the continuation of Dance Marathon at Saint Mary’s.

“Just to see that [Dance Marathon] has continued on even when no one knows who we are and our legacy is long gone, but the legacy of the marathon still lives is amazing,” she said.

Senior Jen Lefere, Dance Marathon vice president, said she was blown away by the results and only hopes that the Dance Marathon will continue to grow.

“I hope to build off what we did this year and continue to have the amazing relationships that we do and to challenge ourselves because that is what we did these last couple of weeks. As you can see, the results were insane,” she said. “We hope to keep moving forward and getting more people involved because it is a fun thing to be a part of.”

Junior Allison Lukomski, external president, said a question resonated throughout the marathon, “Why do you Dance Marathon?”

For Lukomski, the answer is simple: “Dance Marathon is all about fighting for a cause that is bigger than yourself, fighting for the continuation of hope that is given at Riley, fighting for the little faces I see dancing, for their health and for their lives.”


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