Dance Marathon. To some, these words do not make much sense. To some, it is just two words strung together that are not usually associated. Marathons are typically ran or watched on Netflix, but never danced.  At The University of Iowa, Dance Marathon is 24 hours of no sitting, no sleeping, no caffeine, and all dancing. It is a commitment to helping the kiddos and their families both financially and spiritually that stay in the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. To Chi Omegas, Dance Marathon means infinitely more than one 24-hour period where poor dancing is constant. In the past year leading up to Dance Marathon 23, it has meant our fearless sisters on Leadership working tirelessly to plan every finite detail of The Big Event, being the kiddos’ light on even the darkest of days, and it has been, and always will be, a passion that has encapsulated Chi Omega in its entirety.

Through running the Chicago Marathon, knocking on strangers’ doors for contributions, and sending countless letters to friends and families, Chi Omega raised over $85,000 For the Kids. “For The Kids,” is a catch phrase that is widely associated with Dance Marathon. To Chi Omega, it means even more than that. Below are a few quotes that beautifully capture what “For The Kids” and Dance Marathon means to those of our sisters that served on leadership this past year.

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This year I was the Hospital Co-Chair for Dance Marathon and I loved every second of it. Being the hospital co-chair meant I had the opportunity to volunteer on the pediatric inpatient unit and worked closely with the patients and families affected by pediatric cancer and bone marrow transplants. I had the chance to plan themed hospital parties monthly for inpatient kiddos, provide gift cards every week to Dance Marathon families so they could get food that wasn’t from the cafeteria, and worked closely with my co-chair to run our first ever Dancing In Our Hearts walk that honored the children who had passed away from their battle with cancer. Every single week the kids I got to know on the floor gave me another reason to dance. This was surely the best year of my life and the biggest honor I could imagine! I was floored by the amount of money Chi Omega raised, and gladly accepted our highest sorority fundraising award on stage for all the women in our chapter who worked so hard! I was proud to represent Psi Beta and put my whole heart into Dance Marathon 23.
— Riley Coyle, Hospital Co-Chair and Family Relations Committee
“It seems cliché to say, but Dance Marathon has truly changed me for the better, allowing me to pour my heart into something bigger than myself and bringing me back down to earth when life gets overwhelming and messy at times. I can gladly say that committing a great amount of my time here at the University of Iowa to all things FTK has proven to be more of a blessing than I ever could have imagined.”
— Annie Clendenen, Family Relations Committee
This year was my third year participating in Dance Marathon, and I can honestly say every year continues to get better and better. The atmosphere and amount of selfless people all united together to fight pediatric cancer is truly inspiring. Although 24 hours of sitting, sleeping and no caffeine is extremely difficult, it is nothing compared to what these kiddos and families endure every day. When we found out we raised over 2.5 million dollars, I couldn’t control my emotions. Not only is that the most Dance Marathon at Iowa has ever raised in our 23 years, but this number will immensely support all of our kiddos and families here at UIHC.”
— Ashley Mazzocchi, Event Committee

 

In addition to more than 20 Chi Omegas that served on the various leadership committees for Dance Marathon 23, Chi Omega also sent over 80 dancers to The Big Event.

I did Dance Marathon my freshman year and my senior year of college. Seeing how much bigger the event has gotten over the years was fun, but seeing the total board even bigger three years later was the most rewarding feeling. One thing that didn’t change was the pure passion I saw in everyone’s faces, helping these kids fight their battle of pediatric cancer. 24 hours dancing with no sleep, caffeine or sitting is hard but whenever I felt like I couldn’t make it, I looked at my Chi Omega sisters their drive and their passion picked me right back up to continue showing the kids they aren’t alone in their battle.
— Aly Reedy
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Being a part of an organization that does SO much for Dance Marathon and the kiddos with pediatric cancer is truly an honor. When my feet were hurting and my eyelids were drooping during the Big Event, my sisters were there to lift me up. Whether we were laughing at each other’s terrible dance moves or wiping tears from each other’s eyes listening family speakers, I wouldn’t have traded those 24 hours for anything. I couldn’t have gotten through it without my Chi Omegas!
— Kayln Hugdahl

 

Many of our new members jumped right into Dance Marathon from the beginning, and we could not be more proud of them and excited for what they experienced!

I thought the experience of DM was not only life changing, but shocking. Seeing the sheer number of families that have been touched by DM was incredible. I had no idea that some students at a university could make such an impact in peoples’ lives. Staying on my feet for 24 hours tested me physically and emotionally but it was nothing compared to what the kids go through.
— Megan Crotts
I participated in Dance Marathon because so many of my sisters encouraged me to give it a go! After dancing for those 24 hours, I feel very humbled. Not only was it so much fun, but it also did so much good and reminded me what the power of passionate people can accomplish together. I can’t believe we raised over $2 million all For The Kids!
— Kate Vittore
A quote that I would use to describe my Dance Marathon experience would be ‘Dance for a day, give hope for a lifetime’. This quote is perfect for DM because everywhere you look you find inspiration to keep dancing. Whether it be when the kiddos and their families are walking up to the stage at the beginning, graduating, or telling their stories, you can look at them at see that you are making an impact that will last long after the 24 hours has finished. You’re giving them and their family’s hope for a better, brighter future.
— Macy Meredith
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Not only did we send dancers and leadership members to The Big Event, but Chi Omega also has the honor of being the Alma matter of Executive Director, Morgan Kennedy. Morgan worked day in and day out on Dance Marathon and she has dedicated her entire heart and soul to this organization. For Morgan, Dance Marathon will never be a simple 24-hour event, but a commitment to bettering the lives of pediatric oncology patients and encouraging as many other people as she can to do the same. Morgan led this organization to grand total of $2,572,130.23 raised for The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She is truly an inspiration to us all, and for her work on Dance Marathon 23, we are eternally grateful.

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