From 7:30 p.m. Friday night until 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Dance Marathon participants stayed on their feet in TD Arena for 13 hours to benefit MUSC Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Very tiring, but worth it,” was how participant Raychel Simpson described the night when I spoke to her the next day, “I can’t wait for next year.”
Started in 2007, Dance Marathon is now College of Charleston’s largest student-run philanthropy. Each participant pledges to raise $150 through fundraising methods such as sending out donation request letters to friends and family, asking for spare change around campus, and holding bake sales. On the night of Dance Marathon, participants stay on their feet throughout the night “in order to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the struggles children in the hospital face every day,” according to the mission statement posted on the Dance Marathon at the College of Charleston website. As of last year, Dance Marathon had raised over $200,000 for MUSC Children’s Hospital.
TD Arena was transformed into a giant dance floor for the event, complete with decorative lights, balloons, creative banners painted by participants hanging from the rafters, and a large stage set up in the center of the floor. There was plenty to keep participants and children alike entertained throughout the long night including bands such as The Midnight City, a raffle table, cornhole, and even a moonbounce. If these activities did not suffice in keeping participants energized and alert, the Morale Team was there keep the crowd pumped up and teach participants the Morale Dance for when they were beginning to feel lethargic.
The fundraising did not end once everyone had raised $150, but continued during Dance Marathon itself, a testament to how committed the participants are to the cause. During “Power Hour”, everyone was split into their previously assigned “color groups” and the groups were given five minutes to record a video with one of the children attending Dance Marathon to post on social media in an effort to ask for last minute donations.
The grand total raised this year was $53,445.22, trumping last year’s total by over $10,000. Here’s to hoping that next year’s tireless dancers increase that total for the kids once again.