Dancing against kids’ cancer


Every year, thousands of dancers gather in the IMU Ballroom for 24-hours straight. They cannot sleep, sit, or drink caffeine — they dance in Dance Marathon’s Big Event.

Dance Marathon is the largest student organization on campus and garners school-wide, as well as statewide attention. The organization focuses on raising money and providing support for pediatric oncology at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. 

This past year, 2,500 dancers raised more than $2 million for the first time since its inception at the UI. In total since it started, Dance Marathon has raised more than $16 million.

“You just want to sit down, but you hear the family speak, and it gives you that last little push that you need to complete it,” freshman dancer Allie Weis told *The Daily Iowan* during Dance Marathon. “Everyone around you is pumped up and encouraging everyone, and it makes it a lot easier to stay on your feet and keep going for that last hour.”

Students and community members participate in the Big Event, which takes place in February and is the culmination of yearlong work. During the event, students who have raised money for the cause, celebrate the survivors of pediatric cancer as well as remember the children who have died. 

Throughout the year, students also participate in a number of philanthropic events, such as a 5K and volunteering to visit children at the hospital. All the proceeds collected throughout the year are donated to the Children’s Hospital.

Students who wish to be a part of Dance Marathon and participate in the Big Event can register to join a Morale Group. Each dancer must raise $400 or more to participate in the Big Event.

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