Southeast Students Dance to Save Children

University joins schools across the country in Dance Marathon for Children’s Miracle Network

Photo of the Student Recreation Center North

Southeast’s Dance Marathon will be held April 28 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center North.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 16, 2007 – Southeast Missouri State University students will dance the day away on April 28 for a good cause. Students will participate in Southeast’s first Dance Marathon, an event designed to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, with funds directed to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Miracle Center in St. Louis.

The Dance Marathon is an event that takes place on college campuses across the nation, according to Sarah Snyder, a freshman social studies education major from Belleville, Ill., who serves on the Dance Marathon steering committee.

Southeast’s marathon theme, “We dance today for a lifetime of tomorrows,” is fitting, considering the event’s goal of saving children’s lives.

“The Dance Marathon is a chance of a lifetime for participants to give someone else a lifetime of chance,” Snyder said. “Our dancers will have the incredible experience of knowing they helped save children’s lives.

 “The event raises huge sums of money for children’s research hospitals,” Snyder said. “Indiana University, for instance, raised more than $920,000 during its recent Dance Marathon, and Penn State, where the event originated 34 years ago, raised an astonishing $4.2 million.”

Southeast’s first-time goal is a bit more modest: $10,000. Those participating in the marathon find sponsors who donate dollars based on completion of the marathon. Each dancer’s goal is $100.

Participants dance or must remain standing throughout the 12-hour marathon, except for meals and bathroom breaks. The dancers stand in support of those who cannot, according to Snyder.

“Some of the Children’s Miracle Network patients have diseases that prevent them from ever standing, so dancers stand out of respect and in support of those kids,” she said.

While standing, dancers participate in a number of activities and interact with children assisted through the Children’s Miracle Network.

“There will never be a dull moment, as several bands will perform and participants will learn a moral dance, receive massages and encouragement, eat, and compete for prizes in games like ‘Knock Out’ and ‘Simon Says,’” Snyder said. “The most memorable part of the marathon,” Snyder said, “will be the interaction between dancers and children from the hospitals whose families attend the event. The dancers will spend time playing games and doing other activities with the children, and each patient’s family will have the opportunity to take the stage and share their story. The dancers will benefit from really getting to know the children they are helping,” she said.

Snyder recently attended the Dance Marathon at Indiana University and witnessed this inspiring interaction first-hand.

“After being awake for more than 24 hours, Indiana dancers somehow found the energy to fill the room with deafening cheers and applause as the hospital patients performed in a talent show and their parents shared personal stories,” she remarked.

Snyder quoted Jeff Sorensen, chair of the Morale Committee at Indiana University, who said “Dance Marathon is about learning what a priority is in life” and “a true priority in someone’s life should be giving back to others who need your help.”

According to their Web site, Children’s Miracle Network hospitals provide $2.5 billion in charity care each year, treat 98 percent of children needing heart or lung transplants, and 88 percent of those with cancer.

“Children’s Miracle Network hospitals never turn anyone away even if they cannot afford medical care,” Snyder said. “Therefore, it is important for events like Dance Marathon to contribute so the hospitals can help every patient. Even though the two hospitals receiving money from our marathon are in St. Louis, they help children from all over Missouri and Illinois.”

Southeast’s Dance Marathon, which is sponsored by Student Government, will be held April 28 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center North. While participation in the marathon is limited to Southeast students, faculty and staff, the public is encouraged to attend the event and show the dancers their support. Snyder predicts there will be close to 75 dancers participating in the marathon.