Dance Marathon families use variety in fundraising


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From the lush trimmed greens of a golf course to natural skin products to the pinnacle of family traditions — a cookbook — Dance Marathon families demonstrate that it’s not only students clad with green T-shirts raising money.

“It’s really cool for us to see not only students and community members fundraising but also families wanting to support other families,” said Nic Rusher, the executive director of Dance Marathon.

The McAtee family are such a family. They donate 16 percent of the proceeds from their sales of all-natural skin-care products, and they have raised $300 so far.

The McAtees will continue to raise funds until the Big Event on Feb. 1.

“I don’t even know how to put it into words like the world stopped, and [Dance Marathon] helped with some of the burdens you don’t even think about,” said Amanda McAtee, the owner and creator of Simply Rustic. “What they do may not seem like a lot, but it makes a world of difference.”

McAtee and her daughter, Alex, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, have attended the Big Event in the past, but she also remembers receiving gifts from Dance Marathon officials.

“I figured I could help in any way,” she said. “[Receiving the gift cards] meant a lot, and something like that helps out.”

Tammy Mumme decided to use a family tradition of a cookbook to help raise money for the organization, which helped her son Dillyn when he was diagnosed with cancer four years ago.

Mumme’s book of 150 recipes is based on submissions from children, Dance Marathon participants, and community members dedicated to someone with cancer.

“It is something anybody and everybody can use,” she said. “This organization is unbelievable, and this small thing is not even the beginning to thank them for everything they have done.”

Mumme has raised $5,000 to date from her book, which sold out and had to be reordered. She hopes to double that amount and raise $10,000 once all the books are sold.

“Dance Marathon has done so much for my family, and all the credit for [Dillyn] still being here is to Dance Marathon,” she said. “He got to go back to wrestling, which was always his goal, and tonight, I’m at parents’ night, and he is wrestling for varsity.”

The Big Event is quickly approaching and students once again will pack in together to raise money. But the families who have attended the event in the past and have been helped by the organization say they are more then happy to give back.

“It really kind of creates a family atmosphere around the event, and obviously, they know firsthand to have a child with cancer or see a child go through treatment,” Rusher said.

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