Thousands of IU students, alumni and community members participated in the 33rd annual IU dance marathon Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 at the IU Tennis Center. The organization revealed they raised $3,003,837.23 to support Riley Hospital for Children at the conclusion of 36-hour event Sunday morning.
Riley Hospital for Children is the largest and most skilled pediatric system in Indiana with 50 locations around the state, according to their website. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Riley Hospital for Children is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation.
Last year, IUDM raised $3,233,968.23 million for Riley's Hospital for Children.
IUDM is the second largest student-run organization in the world and has raised over $50 million for Riley Hospital for Children since 1991. According to the IUDM website, 25% of donations raised goes towards clinical expenses, and 75% of donations raised go towards supporting Riley’s Wells Center for Pediatric Research. IUDM funds three endowments, including the Ryan White Chair in Infectious Disease Endowment, the Ryan White Infectious Disease Endowment and the IUDM Research Endowment.
The marathon lasted 36 hours beginning 8 p.m. Friday and ending 8 a.m. Sunday and during that time, the members of the organization participated in line dancing, a talent show, pizza eating contests, karaoke and much more.
They played five stage games throughout the marathon including guess the lyric, egg toss and jeopardy, IU senior Vaugn Mihok and stage game chair for morale said. A stage game chair plans all of the games that are played on the main stage during IUDM. He said that he has been in IUDM for two years.
Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Bloomington local country music artist Hank Ruff performed on the main stage.
Riley Hospital for Children patients and their families attended the event to share their stories. Rose Black said she was a single mother when her son Vincent was born. He stopped breathing and was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children shortly after his birth. Vincent suffered severe disabilities and had over 75 surgeries. He lived to be 42 years old.
“Vincet loved the dance marathon so much,” Black said. “He loved to dance and would be right there in the front in front of everyone.”
Black said that every year, she always brings her extended family to IUDM.
“You guys could be doing anything in the world in the cold, cruel world, but look what you are doing,” Black said to the crowd of students.
Marlee Davenport, who is 15 years old and was born missing nine of 12 ribs on her right side causing severe scoliosis and an abnormal small right lung. Marlee was sent to Riley Hospital for Children shortly after birth. She said that she loves coming to IUDM.
“I love how passionate everyone is, and it is such a great community to be around,” Davenport said.
On Saturday night, event organizers revealed that 18 high school dance marathons across Indiana raised $1,153,778.18 for Riley Hospital for Children this year.
IU senior Maggie Doyle and vice president of communications for IUDM said it was her second year on the IUDM executive board and her 10th year participating in dance marathon overall.
“There's nothing else I have been a part of where you are able to do so many good things for other people while also making the most incredible friends in the process,” Doyle said.
According to their website, there are 18 different committees in IUDM organized between four focuses: communications, finance, internal and membership. These committees work year-round to plan IUDM. During the marathon, participants represented their groups by wearing colors specific to that committee.
IU senior Ciarra Beisler and director of hospital relations said she has participated in IUDM for three years and dance marathons for four years at her high school. She said her committee leads the volunteering in and outside of Riley Hospital for Children, takes a group to the hospital every week and read books to the children, plans Ronald Mcdonald Meals and cooks for the families.
Ronald Mcdonald House Charities help families around the world with medical care and any expenses they may need, according to their website. Different organizations can cook meals for families who spend longs hours supporting their child in need of medical resources.
Independent Relations Chair on the Recruitment committee, IU junior Shelby Gosser, said she joined IUDM because her brother has Cystic Fibrosis and has been a Riley kid his entire life.
“My favorite part about IUDM and being on recruitment is getting to see the first-year dancers' eyes light up on the first day of the marathon,” Gosser said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Beisler's name and misstated her year.