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
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
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.