The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Dance Marathon 24 fights cancer with lime and love

Dancers sing and dance to the song during power hour of the 23rd Dance Marathon in the Iowa Memorial Union on Saturday, February 4, 2017. The final total raised was $2,572,130.23. (The Daily Iowan/ Alex Kroeze)

The IMU will be taken over by lime, laughter, and love this evening and Saturday.

These 24 hours are for the Dance Marathon’s annual Big Event, a culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and fundraising for childhood cancer research. This year’s event, with a Disney movie Cars theme, marks the University of Iowa’s 24th year participating in the organization, which is the largest on campus.

“When most people think of Dance Marathon, they think of the Big Event, but we raise funds and volunteer all year long,” Assistant Morale Captain Carolon Johnson said. “The Big Event is a 24-hour celebration of our kiddos and all the hard work we have put in this year. The whole experience is truly humbling and puts everything else in perspective.”

More than 2,900 dancers have applied to attend this year’s Big Event, a record number for Dance Marathon, and the event will feature additions including a relaxation room, a hypnotist, and other theme areas.

“We are really excited to have new and unique entertainment acts for our main stage throughout our Big Event,” Event Director Maddy Woodfine said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “Additionally, we have changed a few of our activity rooms for the event. We are super excited to bring these new fun activities to our dancers and hopefully provide them with the best experience possible.”

RELATED: Dance Marathon fixated more on event’s importance rather than reaching a donation goal

These rooms provide comfort and entertainment for a variety of individuals: dancers, patients, and families who spend time in these spaces to celebrate the Big Event.

Although some who participate have danced for numerous years, many students are spending their first year at the UI by participating in Dance Marathon.

“This is my first year attending the Big Event, and I am beyond excited to bond with the kiddos and their families,” freshman Anna Milleker said. “The Dance Marathon at Iowa is special because it brings the students and kiddos together, creating a family that fights for a common cause.”

Last year, Dance Marathon raised around $2.5 million, falling short of its goal by $200,000. This year, event executives decided not to focus on achieving a set monetary goal, and to focus on the spirit of Dance Marathon and what it means for participants instead.

“Dance Marathon has grown immensely since I was a freshman,” Woodfine said. “I think this is due to the leaders in the organization as well as the culture and relationships that are created by simply being involved with Dance Marathon.”

The Big Event will take place in various parts of the IMU this weekend. UI community members may come to the event to cheer on dancers and witness firsthand what Dance Marathon does.

“There are so many great things about Dance Marathon,” Johnson said. “Not only has this organization introduced me to so many brave kiddos, but it has also brought me some of my best friends. Dance Marathon has taught me that a small group of people can have a huge impact in the world.”


More to Discover