13th annual Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon raises money for Riley Hospital
Sara Schlecht | Monday, April 9, 2018
Members of the tri-campus community gathered at the Pfeil Center at Holy Cross College on Saturday for this year’s Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon.
This was the 13th year the fundraising club has hosted the event for the Saint Mary’s community, and its theme was “Get Wild for the Life of a Child,” according to junior Madeleine Corcoran, co-executive of operations for the club.
Dance Marathon members begin fundraising at the beginning of each academic year to support the Riley Hospital for Children, senior and operations co-executive Theresa McSorley said.
In the past, Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon has had several high schools who fundraised to help reach the group’s goal, but this year was different due to having just one high school participate, senior and Dance Marathon president Meg Brownley said in an email.
McSorley said this decrease affected fundraising for the event.
“We lost a lot of high schools that bring in major parts of fundraising for Dance Marathon this year,” she said.
Despite this setback, members of the club knew they wanted to have an exceptionally good year because Saint Mary’s was set to have raised a total of $1,000,000 during its years participating in Dance Marathon.
“We are the fifth Dance Marathon in the state of Indiana to reach a cumulative total of $1,000,000,” Brownley said.
Executives of the club attribute this achievement to more involvement from the surrounding community.
“This year, we had a 30 percent increase in fundraising compared to last year,” Brownley said.
This increase came from the individual members of the club who began their fundraising in August, as well as the more than 300 people who registered to participate in Dance Marathon.
“It helped that we opened it up to Notre Dame and Holy Cross students to really advertise our Dance Marathon on their campuses,” senior and personal relations executive Alaina Murphy said.
The event itself lasted 12 hours — time the operations committee arranged to be filled with entertainment that included a performance by Bellacapella — the Saint Mary’s acapella group — animals from the Potawatomi Zoo, visits from Notre Dame baseball and football players and face painting.
“We’re so grateful for all the groups from the tri-campus community that came,” Corcoran said. “It shows that our sense of community is strong.”
During the time of the 12-hour marathon, the organization raised about $27,000, Murphy said.
Patients at the Riley Children’s Hospital and their families attended the event and shared stories of how the hospital’s care has impacted their family, junior and letter-writing executive for the organization Grace Ward said.
McSorley said this visit was a Dance Marathon tradition.
“Every year, the Riley kids come, and either they or their parents speak and tell their stories,” McSorley said.
Seeing the children benefitting from the fundraising makes participating in Dance Marathon an emotional experience for some, McSorley said.
“People think you’re just dancing for 12 hours, but it’s so much more than that,” McSorley said. “It sounds so painful, but the minute you sit down after that 12 hours, you realize that the pain you feel is nothing compared to what those kids go through.”