Dance organizers work to recruit more participants

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By: Celina Wu <[email protected]>

Looking back, junior Sarah Turner said she remembers the merriment and excitement at last year’s Dance Marathon, at which she was among only a few hundred dancers. This year, she said she is looking forward to the creation of new memories and the liveliness at the event itself, which will be on Feb. 23.

For this year’s event, Katie Overbeck, assistant House sponsor and English teacher, said that the student government has made a mission to concentrate on recruiting a minimum of 600 dancers instead of making the effort to exceed the goal set of donations.

Overbeck said, “We feel like this is a significant event for any students who participate. We want as many students as possible to experience the giving, the excitement and the emotions. Raising money for Riley remains a priority, but the event means more to participants.”

Senior Emily Campbell said she agrees that it’s more important to encourage more people to participate. She said, “If more people participate, then more people will know about (Dance Marathon). We can set the goal for donations as high as we want, but if few people know about it, then there’s nobody to keep it going in the years to come.”

Turner said she is fully aware of the most imperative requirement of the event, which is that nobody is permitted to sit down for the duration of the event, lasting from 4 to 10 p.m. Even with this condition in mind, Turner said she is prepared to work around this minor inconvenience. However, she knows that she will leave with new perspectives when she joins efforts with her fellow participants in order to achieve the single objective that unites them.

This common purpose is to raise money to benefit the children at Riley Hospital. Katie Overbeck, assistant House sponsor and English teacher, said, “The students know they are doing what’s right by giving their energy and their time to a great hospital that treats great kids.”

The money raised from Dance Marathon is critical because without it, funding for various services and programs for patients, the recruitment of world class physicians and other needs for patient care at the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center at Riley Hospital, for which all donations from Dance Marathon benefit, would not be possible.

Katherine Cain, senior events coordinator at the Riley Children’s Foundation, said, “I don’t think there is a better cause to donate to. Riley Hospital treats all children’s illnesses, diseases and critical injuries, making us the only comprehensive children’s hospital in the state. We take care of every child regardless of their family’s financial means. What is more important than giving hope and healing to the children in Indiana?”

More often than not, the dancers at this event, including Turner, discover that they, in addition to the patients, have gained something valuable from the experience. Turner said, “After going to last year’s Dance Marathon, it made me realize that I am lucky to have the life I have and that since I am more fortunate, I should do my part by helping others less fortunate than me.”

Turner said that Dance Marathon has been one of the highlights of her high school career. She said, “Dance Marathon is definitely worth my time. Seeing how much we raise for Riley is really great. But it doesn’t matter what the actual total is because anything helps and everything counts.”