First aid providers: the unsung heroes of Dance Marathon 24

The Dance Marathon First Aid Clinic continues to keep dancers happy and healthy throughout the Big Event.


The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Al

Medical staff work inside the First Aid Center during UI Dance Marathon 24 inside IMU on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Down on the ground floor of the IMU, tucked away from all the festivities is an essential part of the Dance Marathon machine, the first aid clinic.

Mason Umphreys, EMT with UI Emergency Medical Services, runs the show of volunteer nursing students, fellow EMTs, doctors, and other staffers to provide first aid for dancers and families. The center has treated 62 people so far.

“It’s a great event with a lot of great people,” Umphreys said. “I just want to make sure it’s the best environment for everyone to be in for these 24 long hours.”

Umphreys thanked the Dance Marathon staff and accredited the clinic’s resources and ability to them.

For Katie Harmoney, a pediatric oncology fellow at the university, it’s about paying it forward. She said Dance Marathon funds part of her fellowship and she was given a grant by them to do some research, and for that she expressed her gratitude.

Harmoney also mentioned one of the challenges of operating the clinic is its location. She told a brief story of an ambulance crew struggling to navigate the crowds and cramped hallways to receive a student.

Maron McNeice and Austin Witt, two UI nursing students, are volunteering to help with the first aid crew. Both have had previous experience with Dance Marathon.

“We don’t get too many volunteering opportunities as students,” McNeice said. “Whenever they come up, people just jump on them.”

Witt talked about the importance of volunteers to the clinic’s function and Dance Marathon itself.

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