Hope College's campus-wide Dance Marathon fundraiser achieved a major milestone on Saturday, March 10.
Organized by Hope students, the 24-hour event is conducted annually on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids, both to raise funds and to build awareness of the hospital’s work.
This year's Dance Marathon raised $92,444.32 pushing the cumulative 13-year total for the event to over $1 million dollars ($1,003,599.60).
Nearly 700 Hope students participated in this year's Dance Marathon, held at the college's Dow Center. The initiative is more than a 24-hour event. Activities on behalf of the marathon began shortly after the beginning of the fall semester and have involved nearly 30 student organizations. To emphasize the children that the marathon exists to help, the Dance Marathon’s student organizers coordinate a variety of activities during the course of the school year to connect with families and children served by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. In addition, each of the families is paired with one of the participating student groups. Many Holland area businesses facilitated fund raisers leading up to Dance Marathon itself.
Affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Dance Marathon at Hope is one of more than 150 such efforts at colleges, universities and high schools nationwide. It first came to Hope in March of 2000. In recognition of the program’s efforts, Dance Marathon received the “Youth in Philanthropy Award” from the West Michigan Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in the fall of 2003.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is West Michigan’s largest children’s hospital, and is located in a new 212-bed, 440,000-square-foot facility that opened in January 2011. Serving children and families throughout a 37-county region, the hospital includes nearly 200 pediatric specialty physicians uniquely skilled in providing medical and surgical care to children in more than 50 pediatric specialties. The hospital cares for more than 7,600 inpatients and 190,000 outpatients annually.
In order to help support the vast number of ailing children that visit the hospital each year, all proceeds from the marathon go directly towards the funding of special programs that are designed to make the young patients’ visits to the hospital more bearable while also helping the families of the children to deal with their illnesses.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for more than 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. Each year, these non-profit hospitals treat 17 million children with diseases, injuries and birth defects of every kind.