Dance Marathon raises $47k for fight against cancer

Funds will go toward two treatment rooms at the MU Children’s Hospital.
Sophomore Kitty Baker receives a hug from Josh Patterson, a survivor of neuroblastoma, at the MU Dance Marathon on Saturday. The MU Dance Marathon raised $47,049 for the MU Children's Hospital, where Patterson received treatment.

More than 250 students gathered Saturday in the Student Center for MU’s fourth Dance Marathon. Participants danced for 12 consecutive hours to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.

“We stand and dance for the kids who can’t,” steering committee member Carly Love said. “They have to go through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, things that most students couldn’t even imagine. Us standing and dancing for 12 hours and the pain and soreness you feel that night and the next day is nothing when compared to the stuff these kids go through.”

The event raised $47,049 to fund two treatment rooms at the MU Children’s Hospital. Steering committee members were only aware they raised more than $30,000 before the event began, and were astonished to hear the final number.

“You would have thought the steering committee won the lottery or something,” Love said. “We were all screaming and jumping and crying. There was a lot of emotion on the stage.”

This exceeded their goal by more than $10,000. The organization has pledged to donate $100,000 to the hospital over the next five years, which began last year.

“Encouragement and support is vital to the success of our young cancer patients at Children’s Hospital,” said Thomas Loew, director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at MU Children’s Hospital in a news release. “To see participants and sponsors supporting these patients is inspiring and will certainly give these children the hope and determination they need to beat their illnesses. We are so grateful for all of the hard work and kindness that makes such a big difference in the lives of our patients.”

Freshman Zac Neal participated in the event for the first time and said he couldn’t have been happier with his decision.

“For everyone who didn’t dance with us, I can honestly say they missed out on one of the best and most amazing nights of their lives,” Neal said in an e-mail. “It was a ton of fun and seeing all of the families come out to see what we were doing for them and their children – I couldn’t help but actually feel connected to them.”

Neal raised $100 for the event, acknowledging that every penny counts. All dancers were required to raise at least $100.

“It really hits you and makes you realize that you’re actually making a difference in someone else’s lives not because you have to or feel guilty if you don’t, but because you want to,” Neal said. “I can honestly tell you that there’s no better feeling in the world than knowing that you actually helped someone and don’t care about getting anything in return.”

Children from the hospital were present at the event, something participants said made the night extra special.

“That’s why I joined Dance Marathon,” Neal said. “I wanted to help make a difference as much as I possibly could to someone else. Words can’t really describe how it makes you feel. When you’re there and experience it like I did, it’s just an overwhelming emotional feeling that just sweeps over you, and I loved every second of it.”

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