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Week of events supports Riley Hospital for Children

| Monday, January 30, 2017

The annual Riley Week, which supports Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon, begins Monday. The week is full of events that raise awareness about children’s healthcare and prepare for the Dance Marathon at the end of the week.

Anna Bourjaily, senior and co-vice president of Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon (SMCDM) said in an email that Riley Week is one of the biggest events each year. She said the week is dedicated to promoting the cause and encouraging students to sign up for the Dance Marathon.

“All of our fundraising efforts support Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital that is at the forefront of pediatric care and research, and never turns a child away because they can’t afford the care they need,” she said. “We have a series of fun events planned for the entire week that people are invited to attend and enjoy, and learn more about Dance Marathon.”

Bourjaily said everyone is welcome to participate in the events and learn more about Riley Hospital. 

“Monday, there will be free donuts and coffee in Spes Unica, and Tuesday Pat McKillen will be hosting a concert in Haggar at 7:30 [p.m.],” Bourjaily said. “There will also be a silent auction Tuesday and Wednesday nights.”

Bourjaily said Wednesday’s basketball game is dedicated to the Dance Marathon, and there will be a table set up to collect donations.

“Thursday, yoga will be hosted in Regina Lounge; that is free for those registered for the Dance Marathon and $3 for those who are not,” she said. “Finally, Friday is a dinner that welcomes the families at Riley Hospital to Saint Mary’s. It is attended by all the executives and committees responsible for organizing the dance marathon.”

Bourjaily said Dance Marathon is a 12-hour-long event in which everyone is constantly on their feet having a good time and raising money for a good cause.

“This year, it will be held on April 1 over at Holy Cross due to construction at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “We are so excited to be working with Holy Cross this year. Last year, we raised just around $105,000, and our goal for this year is $110,000.”

Bourjaily said students do not have to know how to dance in order to participate in Dance Marathon.

“You don’t have to be a dancer at all to be involved with the Dance Marathon,” she said. “The focus of the event is more just standing the whole time. There is dancing, but it’s not the main focus. We play games, have performances, our families share their stories with the crowd, and much more.”

Bourjaily said she got involved with SMCDM because she was interested in dancing, but she soon became inspired by the stories of the families and children at Riley Hospital.

“I got involved with SMCDM my junior year after being a dancer my sophomore year,” she said. “ I was drawn in by a friend, and because I saw how popular of an event it was. Last year, I was the public and dancer relations executive, and this year I am one of the vice presidents. I got involved because I loved the SMCDM family that welcomed me at my first marathon, and I was so inspired by the stories of families who had received help at Riley.”

Bourjaily said she hopes everyone participates in either the events or the Dance Marathon because the donations help the children at Riley Hospital.

“Riley Hospital is an incredible place, and the kids who are treated there have more courage and optimism than you can imagine,” she said. “They truly are my heroes.”

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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a senior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She's the co-editor of the Investigative Unit, a Saint Mary's social media liaison, and she occasionally writes for SMC News and Scene. Gina is a tried and true Midwesterner and yes, she does say "ope" often.

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