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Saint Mary’s annual Dance Marathon canceled as result of COVID-19

| Thursday, March 19, 2020

As members of the tri-campus community were sent home due to COVID-19 concerns, organizers of the annual Saint Mary’s College Dance Marathon (SMCDM), scheduled to take place April 4, canceled the event. 

Senior Clare Carragher, the president of SMCDM, said the event is part of a national, student-run organization hosted by hundreds of colleges to benefit their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“[SMCDM] support[s] Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis … [that] provides medical treatment for critically or chronically ill children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay,” Carragher said.

Members of SMCDM spend the whole year preparing for this event. Sophomore Hannah Memmer, a member of the design committee, said members raise money for Riley Hospital for Children by sending letters to family and friends as well as asking for donations on social media. The 12-hour long event is a culmination of the fundraising throughout the year.

The theme for this year’s Dance Marathon was the ’80s.

“A traditional Dance Marathon consists of a day filled with dancing, raising funds and awareness [and] playing games,” Carragher said.

Participants are on their feet for 12 hours, Carragher said, and have the opportunity to meet patients and their families treated at Riley Hospital.

Another member of SMCDM, sophomore Tatiana Boehning, said they aim “to make the day as hype as possible for the kids of Riley Hospital and for the students who attend.”

Carragher said the event is important to the tri-campus community because it makes a difference for the kids and families at Riley Hospital.

“During the Marathon each year, we are reminded of how important it is to dance for the kids,” Carragher said.

Given the circumstances, however, members of SMCDM knew this year would have to be different.

“Given the fact that school will be taking place online for the remainder of the semester due to COVID-19, we will not be having a traditional in-person event,” Carragher said. “The decision to cancel the traditional Marathon itself is [also] based on the CDC’s recommendations against gatherings of 50 people or more.”

SMCDM is currently exploring virtual options for events for the rest of the year.

“We’d like to thank our entire Dance Marathon family, our execs, advisors, sponsors and Riley families,” Carragher said. “We are so incredibly grateful for the countless hours spent working and supporting SMCDM. This year has been a huge success, and we are so proud of everything that we have accomplished together for the kids.”

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