Back for its second year, Dance Marathon had students partying on their feet for 12 hours at the Leadership and Service Center on Saturday, April 8, as a way to raise money to support child patients.
The student-run organization who coordinated the event, SBU Dance Marathon, planned a day full of dancing, performances and entertainment in order to keep the student participants engaged for 12 hours. At the end of Stony Brook’s Dance Marathon, which ran from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., $3,035 was raised for the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, according to Jeremiah Brock, a sophomore AMS and economics double major and the co-president of the organization.
This event was part of the nationwide Dance Marathon movement that raises money for child patients in collaboration with Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that provides support to over 170 children’s hospitals. Standing for 12 hours is the symbolic tradition of these dance marathons.
Over 100 people participated in the event and dance teams including SBU Junoon and the organization’s own planning team signed up ahead of time as teams. They danced and performed things like ballroom dancing and the Indian classical dance throughout the twelve-hour stretch. All of the performers used dancing as a way to help get donations for the event.
“We stand with the kids, and we stand for the kids,” Brian Walker, a sophomore computer science major and co-president of SBU Dance Marathon, said. “It’s a nice challenge if you stand and dance for that long.”
Dance Marathon wanted to bring awareness to student donors of the big expense that comes with using medical devices. In order to make the fundraising more tangible, the organizers used data from the hospital showing the real expenses of different medical devices to ground their efforts. The event also showed that all the donations had a heavy and direct impact on improving medical equipment and medical care from nurses and nutritionists.
Organizers of the event informed people how their donations could help children get better treatment and reduce their stress. For example, doctors often use anesthesia before children’s surgery and the machine that makes anesthesia smell like bubble gum or other scents costs about a thousand dollars, according to Walker.
Daniella Bryan, a 16-year-old girl who received treatment for Crohn’s Disease at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, came to this event as a child representative to thank everyone who helped to better her life. She was one of the child patients who benefited from donations.
Her stomach pain caused her to have a lack of appetite, weight loss and other inconveniences in her life. After the treatment, she became a supporter of child patients and used her experience to help others.
“When we ask for donations, we put a perspective of how expensive things can be for the hospital,” Walker said. “It’s kind of giving people an idea of what the donation is going for.”
In the first year, the organization had a difficult time getting people to notice them, Walker said. They had 90 registered dancers, but only 14 people attended the event. But over time, more people became aware of the event and came out this year. Over 100 people participated.
“We are donating our time, and we hope we can raise a lot of money for children,” Lydia Fernandez, a junior engineering chemistry major and a ballroom dancing performer, said. “It’s a great event.”