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University of Iowa Dance Marathon: Day to DM 2019

A Day of Miracles at the University of Iowa:

For 26.2 hours on Tuesday, October 29th through Wednesday, October 30, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon program set a goal to make $500,000 worth of miracles happen. This marks the start of their annual fundraising push day, “Day to DM”– a day where the entire Dance Marathon community comes together to raise as much money as possible to support the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. $500,000 is the average cost of a pediatric cancer diagnosis and because the University of Iowa Dance Marathon specifically channels funds into pediatric cancer research, clinical care, equipment, staff, and families, it was a perfect cause-connected goal for the event.

The fundraising push kicked off at 8pm on Tuesday evening with an all-team meeting where roughly 700 participants were present. The Codd family, a local miracle family from UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, whose son, Dashiell Codd, passed away from a rare form of cancer, shared an inspiring story about his life and the work that the Dance Marathon students do to help families just like theirs. Before they left, they challenged each participant in the room to reach out to 5 people and ask for $12 donations- in honor of what would be Dashiell’s 12th birthday this year.

They dimmed the lights and as participants completed the challenge of reaching out to 5 people, they were instructed to turn on their flashlight, to light up the room- a beautiful visual of how there can still be a light found even in the darkest of  circumstances.

The following morning brought with it an all-day fundraising challenge. From matching hours, to merchandise sales, to faculty and staff luncheons, to running a collective 262 miles on treadmills (the equivalent of 10 marathons) in exchange for donations, to social media contests and more, the students creatively fundraised all day, in hopes of hitting their $500,000 goal.

New this year, was the addition of the “Dance Marathon Gong” – any participant who raises $50 is able to walk on stage and “hit the gong” while everyone in the room cheers and celebrates their fundraising accomplishments, adding energy and excitement to the day-long fundraiser.

Finally, after a full 26.2 hours of fundraising, the University of Iowa Dance Marathon team was able to see how much they raised for the patients and families at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. As the tote board went up, the team was able to celebrate $602,516.93 of miracles- beating their goal by over $102,000 and setting a new record!