Dance Marathon: Families raise funds through projects


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Wearing a bow tie, playing a round of golf, or cooking a midweek meal can now help support Dance Marathon.

This year, a few Dance Marathon families have developed independent projects to raise money for the organization that supported them in their battles with cancer.

"By spreading the word on childhood cancer, not only what it does to that person but the effects on the family and how things change — your life doesn't get worse," said Tammy Mumme, whose son is diagnosed with cancer. "In the aspects of your values, dreams, and outlook on life changes for the better."

The Mumme family first decided to create a family cookbook last fall, called Stirring Up a CURE, which would collect and print donated food recipes and craft ideas for kids.

"There's something for everybody," Mumme said, and the books will be available in March.

The book was inspired by daughter Jadye Mumme competing in the "Miss Southeast Iowa Outstanding Teen Contest" with a platform of raising awareness of pediatric cancer.

Jamie Lick, a family programming co-head for Dance Marathon, said emails came flooding in once the Mumme family set out on the project.

Jadye's older brother Dillyn was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — which affects the blood and bone marrow — three years ago.

The family was shocked by Dillyn's diagnosis, Mumme said.

"Our world was turned upside down; now it's turned up right," she said.

Another family has established a golf tournament to honor their son who died of cancer. The Eckrichs organized the event with local families.

"[Dancers] understand where these families are coming from and … they are making a difference." said Dance Marathon hospital director Nic Rusher. "To these families, it means everything."

Rusher, who has been a part of the Dance Marathon team for five years, said he serves as a link among the families receiving treatment at the organization.

The Eckrich family's fundraiser has raised roughly $9,300, which the family gave to Dance Marathon.

Another family has been helping new mothers in the organization craft bow ties to sell for $5 apiece.

Rush said the bow ties include the colors lime and black — the Dance Marathon colors.
So far, the project has made $200.

Lick said these projects and others that Dance Marathon hosts help patients and their families to have fun despite the difficulties they face.

"The events are a great way to get to know the families and for them to forget about their child being sick and just have fun," he said.

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