Dance Marathon prepares FTK: for the kickoff (and for the kids)

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JILL JOHNSON

jijohnson12@ole.augie.edu

After weeks of FTK advertising, the Augustana Dance Marathon committee will hold their big event this Saturday at the Elmen Center from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. The committee’s preparations are coming together in time for the annual party “for the kids.”

“Our goal is to make DM [Dance Marathon] a tradition at Augustana,” said Dance Marathon president Leah Murfield. “The committee has worked tremendously hard to bring this day filled with fun events, food and miracles.”

Dance Marathon is an organization of over 150 schools across the United States whose objective is to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization committed to raising funds for medical research and children’s hospitals. All the money that the Augustana Dance Marathon raises goes directly to the Sioux Falls branch located at the Sanford Children’s Castle of Care Hospital.

This year, there are 220 dancers signed up for the event– a “big jump” from the 160 dancers from last year, Murfield said. Even though the number of dancers has improved, Murfield hopes to have a total of 250 by Saturday.

“People can sign up all the way through the event, so we encourage it,” Murfield said. “If people didn’t fundraise, we hope that it doesn’t shy them away from coming on Saturday. There is still time to donate through the entire event.”

Augustana students have so far raised around $15,000 in donations of the $21,000 goal, but Murfield said the goal is not what is most important.

“Dance Marathon has a monetary goal, but we are more excited to simply get students to our event,” Murfield said. “So many people do not know what Dance Marathon is about, but it really takes going to the event for the people to experience why we stand for such a great cause.”

Last year’s goal was $14,000 and about $17,000 in donations was actually raised. Recruitment committee member Betsy McCue said she believes they can again pass their goal.

“In the last few days leading up to the event, people remember that they signed up and what they signed up to raise money for,” McCue said. “Last minute donations really help to boost the total.”

During the event, students will be able to talk with the 11 miracle families to hear their stories, play games with the kids, listen to live entertainment and, of course, dance. More activities include a photo booth, inflatable obstacle courses, a UBG-sponsored dance competition and the pie-ing of several members of the Augustana Football team.

The Crevier family from America’s Got Talent will be there to perform as well as the Pete Melley Band, a group of four elementary school brothers from Valley Springs, S.D. New Squids on the Dock will also be performing and will temporarily change their name to “New Squids for the Kids” to show their support to Dance Marathon. The Taste of the Big Apple, Boss’ Pizza and Chicken, Zesty’s Pizza, Texas Roadhouse, Erbert and Gerbert’s and many more will cater the event.

While these are certainly things for students to look forward to, Murfield said Dance Marathon is not about the food and entertainment. Instead, it’s about one of Augustana’s core values: community.

“Coming together as a student body for the good of others is a powerful and moving thing,” Murfield said. “DM is for everyone – not just the committee, not just for those who have signed up, but everyone. Hearing how our money has helped kids with cancer, illness and injury changes our perspectives on what we can do as college students to help the Sioux Falls community.”