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Head nurse coordinates efforts between UIHC and Dance Marathon

BY STACEY MURRAY | JANUARY 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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Each year, thousands of students participate in the University of Iowa Dance Marathon organization to raise money for childhood cancer by dancing all night below an array of lights.

Across the river, doctors and nurses work to better the facilities for their patients at the UI Children’s Hospital.

Sheryl Lang, the Children’s Hospital’s 3JCP nurse manager, helps the two separate worlds work together. Dance Marathon works primarily with this unit.

Lang said the funds Dance Marathon raises, while important, aren’t the leading contribution from the nationally acclaimed student organization.

“The things they can provide to patients is incredible yes, but the relationships they form with the kiddos and their families is more than that,” she said.

Dance Marathon officials said her work is greatly appreciated.

“She’s a competent professional and is a good friend to Dance Marathon,” said Bill Nelson, the chairman of the Dance Marathon allocation panel.

“We’ve come to rely on Sherry.”

Dance Marathon will hold its 24-hour Big Event on Friday evening, where the funds raised will be allocated to the UI Children’s Hospital. Nelson has worked with Lang for the past 10 years through various organizations related to Dance Marathon.

Lang has served on the allocations committee and currently is informally involved with the requests and decisions in the hospital related to Dance Marathon.

She studies surveys and patient feedback to determine how to better care for the families entering the unit.

Her experiences both as a member allocating money and a nurse requesting funds have given her a unique perspective on the partnership between Dance Marathon and the UIHC.

UI Dance Marathon adviser Courtney Bond, who has worked with Lang for three years, said she’s a kind, professional, and passionate about the collaboration between Dance Marathon and the Children’s Hospital.

“She’s a thoughtful decision-maker,” Bond said. “She’s a very good spokesperson for Dance Marathon. She helps people to understand what we do.”

Lang oversees the donations from the organization’s funds to request and provide ideas for the allocations committee’s funds.

She acts as a means of communication between the organization and the hospital.

Among recent contributions from Dance Marathon to the Children’s Hospital include a communications board, a kitchenette for the patient families, and furnishings in longer-term hospital rooms for patients receiving bone-marrow transplants.

Lang’s colleagues note her important contributions to Dance Marathon’s success.

“She’s just been such an important steward of Dance Marathon resources,” Nelson said.

“Her work has been so appreciated.”


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