Dance fever is about to hit Virginia Tech — and for a good cause.
Benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network, Dance Marathon is holding its first annual event in Squires Colonial Ballroom this Friday.
Those looking to bust a move can do so from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. to raise money for Carillion Children’s Clinic in Roanoke, Va.
The clinic is just one of 170 children’s hospitals around the country that the Children’s Miracle Network donates funds to.
But Dance Marathon will truly be helping the children who gain from the funds. Five children, ages four to eight, who have received treatment from the clinic, will be at the event with their families.
Danielle Betchel, Dance Marathon’s co-director, emphasized the importance of spending time with the children.
“My main focus that this event offers versus anything else is that you get to see the families and hear their stories. That is the whole reason we are doing this,” the junior management major said. “Just that intrinsic benefit to know, ‘Hey, this little boy is who I am helping out.’”
The children, along with participants, will learn a portion of a larger dance routine each hour. At the end of the night, everyone will perform it together, said Stephanie Simms, co-director.
The organization’s goal is to spread the word about the hospital and respond to it needs, said Simms, a senior human nutrition, foods and exercise major.
“They lose so much money every year that they have to get through funding from the Children’s Miracle Network or they wouldn’t be able to treat the children,” she said.
Betchel elaborated on the event’s fundraising capacity.
“(The Children’s Miracle Network’s) two goals are to raise as much funds as possible for research and helping families pay their hospital bills,” the junior management major said. “It is the only charity event nationwide that 100 percent of the money raised goes to the hospitals.”
The organization received donations from the university, the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center and the PanHellenic Council, totaling more than $2,000.
While the event is heavily focused on fundraising efforts and supporting the children, the environment is built upon excitement.
In addition to the dance routine, several performers will be providing entertainment, including the High Techs, Juxtaposition and Dance Company at Virginia Tech.
Simms compared the profile of Dance Marathon to Relay 4 Life, arguably one of the most popular service events at Tech.
“The similarity (to Relay) is that it is a one-night event. There is going to be entertainment and food, which is all the same as Relay. You also pay the $10 to sign up and get a T-shirt,” Simms said.
Despite being quite similar on the surface, Dance Marathon offers a much different environment than that of Relay, since it is solely focused on children, she said. However, it has yet to make a similar impact on campus. But Simms and Betchel have high hopes for the event’s future in the community.
“Since this is our first year, our number one problem is motivating people to go. Everyone knows about Dance Marathon, but taking that extra step to sign up is where we have fallen short,” Betchel said.
But she isn’t worried. The goal for this year is to make the organization known on campus and build for the future.
There are currently more than 100 people signed up, which does not include the executive committee or people who will sign up during the last week.
Simms expects around 200 people at the event — a promising number for its first year.
Students can still sign up at DanceMarathon.org.vt.edu. Registration fees are $10 online and $15 on the night of the event.