Created By: Jessica Robey, Jon Rudder, & Alexander Panos
WVU Students Participate in 12-Hour Dance Marathon for Charity
West Virginia university students danced for a cause on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. They raised over $32,000 during the 12-hour-long 13th Annual WVU Dance Marathon, with all the proceeds going towards the WVU Children’s Hospital.
WVU senior and president of the Dance Marathon Executive Committee Andrea Tracewell said that 370 students participated this year and most of them stayed for the entire event.
“It’s cool to see all the WVU Students come together and participate,” Tracewell said.
Tracewell, a dancer at the event during her freshman year, joined the executive board as a sophomore after having it “handed down” to her from her brother. She said that due to the participant turnout, funds raised, and excitement of the kids from WVU Hospitals in attendance, she believes all the hard work of the committee paid off.
Two of those “excited” kids in attendance were the children of WVU alumni Paula Hatten. Her two daughters are both in the program and part of Children’s Miracle Network, and Hatten said that without WVU Hospitals and the immediate care they provided, she is unsure of what might have happened to her children.
Hatten’s oldest daughter Lydia required immediate attention when she was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Her younger daughter Ella had open heart surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital for a congenital heart defect.
“Basically, WVU hospitals saved both our daughter’s lives,” Hatten said.
Hatten also said her entire family was overjoyed to be a part of the event, a feeling that coincided with the student volunteer dancers.
An eight-minute-long line dance was implemented in increments throughout the night; featuring all types of music from jazz, hip-hop, country, rock, classic rock and- since the event was centered around a Disney theme- songs from Disney motion pictures such as “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid and “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King.
Participants were also taught unique moves such as swing and belly dancing, with instructions courtesy of the WVU Swing Club and Belly-dance Club for each dance respectively.
Twitter was used as a morale booster throughout the night. A live feed was projected onto the stage screen that displayed motivating tweets for participants. Prizes were also distributed to the volunteer dancers via raffle, including an iPad and gift cards to local restaurants.
Tracewell said that it was great for students to have fun while meeting new friends, participating in team building exercises, learning new dance steps and winning prizes; but the true meaning of the Dance Marathon can be seen on the faces of all the kids.
“It’s just inspiring to help them and make a difference in their life,” Tracewell said.
Paula Hatten says her daugthers, Lydia and Ella, received critical care at the WVU Children’s Hospital.
A family photo of Paula Hatten, her husband, and daughters Lydia & Ella.