posted December 9, 1999

Student Dance Marathon Planned

Students at Hope College are making a marathon effort to "Give HOPE to Kids" through the Dance Marathon, a 24-hour student-run event that will benefit   Children's Miracle Network at DeVos Hospital in Grand Rapids.

          The students are working hard at planning and
  fundraising before the kick-off of the inaugural Dance
  Marathon on Friday, March 10, at 7 p.m. in the college's Dow
  Athletic Center.  They hope that their efforts will result
  in an annual event that will thrive for years to come.
          "We want to make Dance Marathon a Hope tradition,"
  said Ann Schrock, a senior from Mason who is the event's
  overall committee chair.  "It will be a long-term event,
  each year raising more funds and awareness than the year
  before."
          The idea of a fundraiser in the form of a dance
  marathon comes from a popular fad of the 1920s and 1930s.
  Dancers will have to follow certain guidelines regarding
  whether they can sit, regimented bathroom breaks, and eating
  meals.  The grueling concept of the marathon is balanced by
  the fun activities that take place though out the evening:
  theme hours, live bands, contests and thankful stories from
  hospitalized children and their families.
          Tiffany Ghent, a sophomore from Hudsonville who is
  the marathon's rules and regulations chair, said,
  "Participants might feel pain from dancing for 24 straight
  hours, but that pain will eventually go away.  The kids we
  raise money for experience intense pain that sometimes never
  goes away."
          Dance Marathon is sponsored by the Greek system at
  Hope College, but campus residence halls and clubs, and many
  student organizations are also involved.  Hundreds of
  students are joining together to create new ways to
  fundraise for the event, in addition to the dancer entry fee
  of more than $400 per person.
          Dance Marathon draws from examples at Indiana
  University and Penn State.  The Penn State Dance Marathon
  began in 1973 and regularly raises more than $2 million for
  the Four Diamonds fund at Hershey Medical Center.  This year
  Indiana held its eighth annual Dance Marathon.  IU's money
  goes to the Ryan White Infectious Disease Fund at Riley
  Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
          Both hospitals are also part of the Children's
  Miracle Network, an international fund raising organization
  generating funds and awareness programs for 160 associated
  hospitals for children.  The distinguishing characteristic
  of Children's Miracle Network is that 100 percent of the
  funding raised locally stays local.  That means every cent
  Dance Marathon of Hope College raises this year and every
  year will benefit kids at DeVos Hospital.
           "We are really appreciative of all of the work
  that students are putting into their community," said Laura
  Staskiewicz, who is development director at DeVos Children's
  Hospital.  "It will be really evident when students are able
  to meet the families they have helped."
          Anyone interested in contributing to Dance
  Marathon may contact the Dance Marathon office at (616) 395-
  7472, or write to:  Student Activities; 141 E. 12th Street;
  PO Box 9000; Holland, MI 49422-9000.