IU Dance Marathon breaks fundraising record with $1,602,713.20


Riley patient Braedon Upchurch celebrates with junior Ally Gibler in front of the IUDM participants during the opening ceremony Friday at the HPER. Connor Wollensak Buy Photos

Moments later, it was announced that the 20th anniversary of IUDM raised a total of $1,602,713.20 for the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis — the highest amount in the marathon’s history, surpassing last year’s total by more than $80,000.

IUDM President Eric Davis spoke to the tired dancers at the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in the last minutes of the event, acknowledging their dedication.

“It’s such a positive weekend,” Davis said. “So much hard work has been put in to this event, and it definitely paid off.”

But Davis also stressed that IUDM is a lot more than just the money.

“It’s not necessarily about the money raised, it’s about having people that know and support your story,” said Davis, who is also a former Riley patient.
Although this is Davis’s last year participating in IUDM as a student, he said he will be back.

Dancers for the marathon stood without sleep this weekend in honor of the children at Riley Hospital. Throughout the event, Riley kids and their families told their stories about the hours they were unable to stand.

“The most important part is going to the Riley tent and hanging with them,” said sophomore Jessica Sidebottom, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “You can tell they enjoy hanging out with older kids.”

Nick Murphy, IUDM director of fundraising, said 15 more Riley families than last year were invited and attended the event, which made for slightly more than 50 families in attendance.

As a former Riley patient and mother of Riley kids, Heather Dawes said the event gave her peace of mind.

“It is incredible, and it is unimaginable how far they will take this,” Dawes said.

Dawes said this weekend was her seventh year participating in IUDM and said she is amazed every year by how many people work to help the kids at Riley.

“My oldest has Asperger syndrome and pediatric bipolar disorder,” Dawes said. “When we come here, he’s accepted, and the dancers give him undivided attention.”


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