Students raise 10K for local hospital

Students danced the night away in the Hippodrome for 12 hours nonstop starting Friday at 8 p.m. through Saturday morning, raising more than $10,000 for a D.C. charity as part of the second-annual Dance Marathon.

The more than 180 dancers registered for the event danced in shifts and were not allowed to sit except to use the bathroom or eat. About 100 of the registered dancers lasted all night, but the money the others raised still contributed to the night’s donation.

The event raised about $14,000, said Dance Marathon Finance Chairman Pietro DeVolpi, but part was used to pay for expenses incurred in planning the event, said junior Shari Cooperman, an event organizer.

“It was a bigger event this year, so there were more expenses,” Cooperman said.

Last year, the event featured 60 registered dancers raising $15,000, including $8,100 for charity.

The dance marathon benefits the D.C. Children’s Hospital, the only hospital in the area that treats patients regardless of their ability to pay. The money will fund research of various types of cancers, especially leukemia.

Each registered dancer was required to raise a minimum of $100 to participate. Non-registered students could donate $10 for every hour they danced.

The most challenging and rewarding part of organizing the Dance Marathon was “trying to take an idea and make it actualize into a lasting tradition at GW,” Cooperman said.

Several “miracle kids,” patients of D.C. Children’s Hospital, participated in the event.

“The smiles on the kids faces say it all,” dancer freshman Marisa Annunziata said.

Many participants said that it was the energy of the “miracle kids” that kept them motivated. This year five miracle kids attended the event. Student moral supporters, including the staff of Colonial Inauguration, attended the event to motivate dancers to stay all 12 hours.

Student DJs played a variety of dance music. Every hour featured a different musical theme to help keep dancers motivated, including “Spring Break” and “rave” hours.

The event sponsored performances by a variety of student groups, including the student choral group Troubadors and GW break-dance group Liquid Arts.

A surprise celebration with sparkling cider and “Auld Lang Syne” marked the 2 a.m. halfway mark.

Sophomore Michelle Abbani said she participated because she loves
dancing and it benefited a good cause.

“It’s not that hard to stay the whole 12 hours once you get into it,” she said. “The different kind of music motivates you, and the kids there were inspiring people about where their money was going.”

A committee of eight students began organizing this year’s Dance Marathon last April. The committee held a kickoff in November to recruit dancers.

Corporate sponsors also supported the event, contributing money, food, prizes, airline tickets and an autographed banner by the Wizard basketball team. Money raised from the raffled items will also go to the D.C. Children’s Hospital.

-Amanda Mantone contributed to this report.

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