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University of Iowa Foundation News Release


April 8, 2011

UI dedicates renovated pediatric cancer labs named for Dance Marathon

One year after the University of Iowa Dance Marathon committed $1 million to University of Iowa Children's Hospital to support research into pediatric cancer and blood disorders, laboratory space renovated with a portion of that gift is ready for UI physicians and scientists to engage in leading-edge research in these areas.

Today the university dedicated the University of Iowa Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Laboratories in the Med Labs building on the UI campus. The renovated labs were named for Dance Marathon in recognition of its generosity.

UI Dance Marathon's $1 million gift, made through the UI Foundation, designated $750,000 for renovation of laboratory space for this purpose in the state's only comprehensive academic medical center, and $250,000 to create a special research fund.

"Thanks to Dance Marathon's inspiring generosity, this state-of-art lab space will provide the perfect environment for ground-breaking research in cancer treatment for children," said Thomas D. Scholz, M.D., Children's Miracle Network Professor of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at UI Children's Hospital. "The space will also help our recruitment of a world-class leader for the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Division. It will be an area the new division director will be able to use for their investigative studies as well as for new hematology-oncology faculty recruits to set up their laboratories.

"The research that will take place in this laboratory will move our understanding forward about how to best treat, and prevent, cancer in children," continued Scholz, who also is interim head of the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology in the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Kyle Walters, executive director of the 2011 Dance Marathon, was a member of the Dance Marathon Allocations Committee, a 15-member board consisting of Dance Marathon student leaders and alumni, UI Children's Hospital and university officials and community members charged with reviewing funding proposals and selecting projects to which Dance Marathon funds are directed.

"When the hospital presented the need for the renovation of this research space, the students from the University of Iowa Dance Marathon were very happy to pitch in and make it happen," Walters said. "It was very rewarding for me, as a college student, to be in a position to help commit such a large amount of money toward such a noteworthy cause. We believe this space will lead to many new advancements in the treatments for pediatric cancer and provide a much brighter future for all pediatric cancer patients.

"The most inspiring part of this process is knowing how the funds for this renovation were made possible," Walters added. "Thousands of UI college students, along with UI employees and Iowa City community members, have come together for 17 years to provide unwavering financial and emotional support for local pediatric cancer patients and their families. By being a part of this university and this wonderful organization, I have learned what it truly means to give back, and for that I am thankful."

The 2011 Dance Marathon in February marked the fourth consecutive year that the UI event has raised more than $1 million. More than 900 patients and family members cared for at UI Children's Hospital joined more than 1,350 dancers for the 24-hour event.

Over the past 17 years, UI Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic organization at the UI, has raised more than $9.8 million to support pediatric oncology programs at UI Children's Hospital. More information about the UI Dance Marathon is available at

University of Iowa Children's Hospital serves children and their families at its main campus in Iowa City and satellite clinics in communities throughout Iowa. A 190-bed "hospital within a hospital," UI Children's Hospital benefits from the sophisticated services and comprehensive resources of UI Hospitals and Clinics. "Parents" magazine ranks UI Children's Hospital among the top 20 children's hospitals in the nation.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its website at

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa Foundation, Levitt Center for University Advancement, One West Park Road, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sheila Baldwin, assistant vice president, health sciences development, UI Foundation,, 319-467-3731, or Forrest Meyer, executive director-strategic communications, UI Foundation, 319-467-3661;