Organizers of Western Carolina University’s Dance Marathon reported that this year’s event and other fundraising activities have resulted in a total of $21,510.72 being raised for the Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina.
This semester’s total is a new record for WCU, topping the old record set in spring 2013 by more than $5,000 and surpassing the total from last fall by almost $9,000.
In addition to the Dance Marathon, held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at A.K. Hinds University Center, organizers have hosted various events since August to raise money to help fund a child’s life specialist position at the hospital. Individuals who hold those positions support and assist children whose parents are undergoing long-term medical care. Fundraising efforts this fall have included a dunk tank, silent auction, “Push Days” during which participants sought to raise $1,000 or $2,000 in a day, and percentage nights at local businesses. The registration fee paid by all the dancers in the Dance Marathon also are added to the money raised.
A total of 220 people registered to participate in the Dance Marathon event, with most of the group consisting of WCU students, with a few friends and family members of students also participating, said Stephanie Sue Rowell, an adviser for Dance Marathon and associate director with the Department of Campus Activities. Guests included Allison Cheadle, annual giving coordinator at the Children’s Hospital, and five families served by the hospital who told their stories of how the hospital has helped them, Rowell said.
The 12 hours of the Dance Marathon didn’t just include dancing, but also other activities designed to keep participants standing and moving to represent the struggles of the children served by the Children’s Miracle Network, Rowell said. Some of the highlights of the day were a karaoke battle, a presentation by WCU softball players to one of the WCU’s group’s “Miracle Children,” a special performance by the local gospel-bluegrass band Mountain Faith, a candlelight ceremony at the fountain, and a glow party.
Two groups of participants received special recognition for their fundraising. Members of one group joined the Chancellor’s Circle by raising $250 or more individually. Those participants, who will be having dinner with WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher in January to celebrate their achievement, are Michaela Bishop, Jayna Cooper, Mike Corelli, Michael Falls, Casey Gerringer, Rachel Hall, Megan Harward, Jonathan Johnston, Mandy McDuffie, Jessica Olshefski, Emily Pelliccia, Stephanie Sue Rowell, Noah Sautter and Emily Watson.
For the first time, this year’s Dance Marathon also included a Comma Club for individuals who raised more than $1,000. Members of that group are Pelliccia, executive director of the Dance Marathon who was the top overall individual fundraiser, along with Corelli and Rowell.
Team awards went to the Residence Life as the “Most Engaged Team,” Phi Mu sorority as “Most Spirited Team” and Leadership Institute for “Highest Fundraising Total.” Phi Mu took home the “Transformation Trophy” as the overall team winner.
The date for the 2017 Dance Marathon already has been set – Saturday, Nov. 4. Fundraising activities will begin by the end of November with all proceeds from the University Center’s “Holidays at the UC” going toward the effort.
Dance Marathon is presented by WCU’s Department of Campus Activities in collaboration with the Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness. The organizing committee this year included Emily Pelliccia, executive director; Noah Sautter, director of event management; Rachel Hall, director of special events; Mandy McDuffie, director of sponsorship and catering; Kani Totten, director of recruitment; Casey Gerringer, director of marketing; T-Keyah Cunningham, director of morale; Brittany Cotton and Michaela Bishop, residential living liaisons; and Jonathan Johnston, Brandon Lokey and Stephanie Sue Rowell, advisers.
Click here to see a Dance Marathon photo gallery.