I recently participated in, and wrote a story about Dance Marathon, which was held this past Feb. 26- Feb. 27 in the Mountainlair ballroom at WVU.
Dance Marathon is the largest student student run philanthropy, and is held in over 150 colleges and high schools nation wide to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network, and their affiliate hospitals. Last year alone, Dance Marathon raised over $6 million nation wide, this year, WVU contributed over $27,000.
Dance Marathon at WVU is an 18 hour long marathon where students learn a 14 minute choreographed dance. The marathon is so long because it is trying to teach students about the life of a sick child, and tell their story in a different light. For many of the children who have been diagnosed with cancer or another life threatening illness, the hospital becomes their home. Dance Marathon tries to depict just a small glimpse of what life would be like when you are stuck in a place where you are fighting to stay awake, and fighting to push through another hour so you can eventually go home to the comfort of your own bed.
Currently in the WVU Children’s Hospital in the NIC-U and the PIC-U, every bed is full with children. This weekend, over 300 WVU students crowded into the ballroom and danced their hearts out “for the kids”, with a Dr. Suess theme saying, “1 kid, 2 kids, we dance for all kids.”
I found it very sad but interesting to listen to all the kids come in and tell their stories.
There was one little boy named Brody who told ‘his story’ and it went… “There once were 3 little pigs, and then the wolf came and he said, ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!” His gave his mother the microphone and smiled to the crowd of students more than pleased with his story and the applause he was getting. When his mother told everyone what Brody went through as a new baby, the mood in the room changed to one of slight distress. Brody had been born very premature. His mother said that people were just starting to tell her she looked pregnant, and that day she went into labor. He needed mouth to mouth CPR when he was born, and when she finally got the chance to see him he was completely bruised from the CPR to keep him alive after multiple nights. He had holes in his heart, with a heartbeat of 300 beats per minute that left him unable to catch his breath properly. He needed immediate heart surgery to add a piece he was missing from being born so prematurely- a flap of skin that helps it beat regularly and circulate blood. Although the mood of the room was serious, Brody continued to add comic relief taking the mic from his mother and telling the audience that he loves theatre, and dragons, scary dragons- which just goes to show how ‘normal’ these kids really are, and almost breaks your heart more.
They all have such a positive outlook on life, and they all still run, and play, and dance, and get excited to wear the same Dance Marathon t-shirt the “big kids” are wearing. Its absolutely amazing to see. One little girl, Ensly, even ran up to her dad exclaiming, “Daddy! Did you see me dancing with the girls?!”
Seeing these kids, it gives you so much more incentive to be a happy person, and to know things aren’t always as bad as they seem if you believe in the positive. As a participant, the 18 hours didn’t seem as rough when you see these kids, and how when you look at them, you see just your average crazy 5 year old, but inside they’re all fighting an unknown battle.
To learn more about Dance Marathon, The Children’s Miracle Network or WVU Children’s Hospital, you can follow the links below 🙂
-http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/Pediatrics/Research/ – WVU Pediatrics Research website shows all the different research that goes into WVU Children’s hospital, which ultimately, a lot of the money will goes toward.
-http://dancemarathon.childrensmiraclenetwork.org/ – The children’s miracle network for dance marathon. A multimedia website detailing and outlining what dance marathon is all about. It tells you what it is, where you can donate, how to get started, everything you might need to know about D.M. today.
-http://www.thon.org/home – this is the Penn State website, however this is what WVU’s Dance Marathon is modeled after, and the website gives you a very detailed history and plans of Dance Marathon.
To read my story:
2011 Dance Marathon