Freshman Alyssa Tuckrin, who went through her first Dance Marathon, knew just how much this event can help people.
“My brother is one of the miracle children, so I’ve seen where the money from this goes,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of this.”
During the weekend, the 17th annual Dance Marathon raised more than $225,000 for Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, which passed last year’s total of $217,000, said Nikia Washington, Assistant Director of External Affairs, in a press release.
The 32-hour long event began at 10 a.m. Saturday and continued until 6 p.m. Sunday, with the participants remaining on their feet the entire time dancing, singing and playing games, said sophomore Brandon Schmid, a member of the events committee for publicity and technology.
“Our goal is cheering the kids up, raise money for medical care and do a lot of things to get that smile on their face,” Schmid said. “The impact we can have is huge. In the last 17 years we have raised a total of $2.5 million.”
The money goes to children with illnesses and disabilities in need of care. Many are present at the event and are known as Miracle Children. They cheer on the dancers, who cheer back and celebrate helping others.
The event had more than 300 student dancers on their feet, said Alexis Groover, Alumni Relation Chair for Dance Marathon. The dancers include Greek Houses and student organizations.
The BG Dance Marathon was one of the founding five schools to have such an event, and 17 years later the number of schools that participate nationwide is more than 200, according to the press release. Even high schools and cities are beginning to host similar events.
All the people present made the whole experience even more powerful and inspiring, Groover said.
“It has changed my life completely,” Groover said. “Before DM I feel like I was a more selfish person, focused on what I can do for me. I realized life is short. There are people who are suffering and sick every day. I am so blessed, how can I give back?”
One of the most touching moments of the entire event is the arrival of the bikers, she said.
The Bike for Tikes occurs alongside Dance Marathon. The participates raise money and take part in a 180-mile bike ride from Cincinnati back to Bowling Green, ending with them running in and joining DM, Groover said.
“By the time the bikers arrive, we’ve been here for 30 hours already,” she said. “You forget that there are 130 other people trying to help the same cause you are. You’re all in the same place and all there for the same purpose: for the kids. When they come running in, it is the coolest thing on earth.”
The bikers themselves raised more than $81,000 of the total amount, passing their goal of $75,000, as was announced at the event.
While the impact of the event will be felt by many, the event itself was to bring fun to the students and continue to build the community, Groover said.
The closing ceremonies of the event brought tears to people’s eyes and led many friends and strangers alike together. The students had stood on their feet for 32 straight hours, but they didn’t forget why they were there. The cheer of “For the Kids” continued to be shouted throughout the activities.
“[The standing] wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Tuckrin said. “I might start to fall asleep then I’d wake up and say ‘it’s for the kids.’”