The University of Iowa’s 29th Dance Marathon will take place tonight, February 3rd at 7 p.m. in the Iowa Memorial Union. Since 1993, the 24-hour dance fundraiser has raised over 34 million dollars for Dance Marathon children and their families. Students who participate meaningfully impact their surrounding community while also creating memories that last beyond their time at Iowa.
“The University of Iowa Dance Marathon program provides students an opportunity to connect with their peers around a shared mission of providing service to the patients and families treated on Level 11. University of Iowa students bring new, innovative ideas to the Iowa City community, to hopefully, positively impact others' lives,” says Maddy Wilson, UI Dance Marathon programs and student engagement & campus programs coordinator.
Donations assist children fighting cancer in a variety of ways, Wilson explains. “Through peer-to-peer fundraising and support from our community partners, UIDM is able to fund projects such as the new endowed professorship position, life-saving research, wigs for cancer patients, family meals while on Level 11, funeral costs, innovative technology, and more.”
This year over a thousand people have signed up for Dance Marathon. Executive Director of Dance Marathon 29, Raginya Handoo, found that the pandemic had given the organization a chance to reflect on how to make the event more inclusive. This year the registration fee and fundraising requirements have been cut in half. “We saw there was a barrier to people participating and wanted to work to reduce it while still being able to support our families and kiddos in the way they best need it,” Handoo says.
At the core of the program, Handoo believes, is the community Dance Marathon creates. “This is an incredible form of community service and civic engagement, and an extremely rewarding one. The experiences and skills that you gain being part of Dance Marathon is unlike anything else on campus and truly sets you up for success in the future.”
To donate or learn more about Dance Marathon, visit their website.