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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 3, 2009

UI Dance Marathoners say 'BIG Event' is 'For the Kids'

Organizers say the 15th University of Iowa Dance Marathon, to be held Feb. 6-7 in the Main Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union, will truly be a "BIG Event" that will benefit pediatric cancer patients receiving care at University of Iowa Children's Hospital in Iowa City.

More than 1,600 UI students -- 650 Dance Marathon family members and children, and 200 community volunteers -- will kick off the evening at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6. The event requires dancers to go without caffeine, sleep or the chance to sit down for a full 24 hours.

In 2008, Dance Marathon supported more than 350 families, hosted more than 1,000 dancers, and benefited from the help of more than 400 volunteers. Together, they raised more than $1 million to help children battling cancer and their families.

Just over 1,600 pediatric cancer treatments take place at UI Children's Hospital annually, so this year the Dance Marathon leadership team, consisting of 250 students, set a goal of registering and retaining 1,600 dancers for the BIG Event. Each dancer works year-round to raise $400 to participate in Dance Marathon.

At the BIG Event, dancers and families will have a chance to visit the Best Buy room and pass the time by playing their favorite video games, watching a movie on a big screen television, becoming a musician with Rock Band, or singing their favorite karaoke song.

Lily and the Remains and The Late Nite Blues Brothers with Shades of Blue will perform.

Donors can call 1-800-456-2772 during the Feb. 4-6 "Call for Kids with Cancer" radiothon and throughout the 24-hour BIG Event. Supporters can also donate online at http://www.dancemarathon.org or text message HAWKS to 90999 to donate $5, courtesy of Children's Miracle Network.

Dance Marathon is proud to help support children treated at UI Children's Hospital through the funding of items such as comfort kits for newly diagnosed families, a co-payment plan for assistance with patient bills, and video gaming systems for long stays in the hospital.

UI Dance Marathon also hosts seasonal events for the Dance Marathon families to attend, including a Halloween event held at Bloomsbury Farms and the annual summer trip to Adventureland Amusement Park.

As the organization continues to grow, so does its direct involvement with the patients. Each week, students have the opportunity to visit children at the hospital and entertain them to help take the focus off the battle they are fighting. These opportunities allow Dance Marathon families and dancers to get to know each other both inside and outside the hospital environment.

Dance Marathon works to create special projects to provide emotional and financial support to families treated at UI Children's Hospital with an emphasis on pediatric cancer.

"Dance Marathon is a year-long effort to help children and their families," said Kate Lindsay with UI Dance Marathon. "It's all for the kids."

During the past 14 years, UI Dance Marathon has raised more than $6.5 million to help children and their families who are battling cancer.

NOTES FOR MEDIA: University of Iowa Dance Marathon welcomes media visits throughout the BIG Event. Please RSVP to the "BIG Event" contact person, Rebecca Schwartz, below regarding your visit to Dance Marathon. Upon arrival at the event, all media personnel must check-in at the general check-in, Main Lobby, IMU.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

"BIG EVENT" CONTACT: Rebecca Schwartz, Dance Marathon Media Relations Chair, 630-772-7362, Dm.medrel@gmail.com

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu