More than 250 students got their groove on Feb. 23 during the fifth-annual NIU Dance Marathon held at the Student Recreation Center. Armed with enthusiasm and their best dance moves, Huskies raised more than $30,500 for kids who receive treatment at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“It doesn’t matter what major you are or where you come from, the Dance Marathon is an event for everyone,” Courtney Hoster, a senior from the College of Nursing and Dance Marathon president, said. “To be part of this and to give back to the community in this way is one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.”
Each year, dance marathon events are held at campuses around the country to raise funds and awareness for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 1991, students have created fundraising pages and asked family and friends to support them, ultimately raising more than $250 million for hospitals in their own community.
This is the second year Julia Altemus, a junior majoring in nursing, has participated.
“As a nursing student I know how much a hospital stay can effect a child and their loved ones,” Altemus said. “Being able to impact that experience is extremely rewarding, and seeing the kids, their families and other NIU students taking part in this event is an overall inspiration to me.”
Hoster shared the sentiment.
“We have the ability to provide the fun stuff for kids to enjoy when they are going through treatment,” Hoster said. “Our funds go to things like pet therapy, art and things that make them smile which is a really special thing.”
And while dancing is a key component of the event, there is so much more.
“The purpose is to stay standing and dance during the eight hours but that is kind of a small portion of what it really is,” Hoster said. “Throughout the event we meet families and their kids – we call them miracle kids – who are treated at Lurie’s.”
Disney princesses and super heroes were among the attendees, but the actual heroes are the Lurie patients and their families who took part in the event.
“They tell us what they have been through and how Lurie’s has impacted their lives,” Hoster said. “It’s so special to connect with these kids.”
“My favorite part about the event is the miracle stories,” Altemus said. “I cry every time, seeing those children dance around, thank us or even smile makes all of our hard work worth it.”
To learn more about NIU’s Dance Marathon, visit their Facebook page.