Students raised more than $30,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois during this year’s Dance Marathon, Sara Bernardi said.
“It was very exciting, because we broke our goal of raising $300,000 in 8 years, which is how long the marathon has been at Bradley,” the Dance Marathon president said.
The marathon, which was held last Friday in the Markin Family Student Recreation Center, featured more events than usual this year, due to its new location.
“The fact that it was in the Markin Center gave us so many more options,” Bernardi said. “There was swimming, climbing the rock wall, badminton and racquetball.”
Although this year’s event may have been harder to plan, the extra effort paid off, Bernardi said.
“We had five miracle families speak,” she said. “This event is all about the kids.”
Sophomore secondary education and biology major Marie Martinez said the miracle families made the night special.
“All the kids were just so cute, and they really made me realize why we were doing this,” she said.
Martinez participated in the event and said it was one of the most challenging things she has ever done.
“Keeping energized and standing for that long was just so hard,” she said. “But we had morale groups and they really kept us busy all night. It makes you appreciate what you have and understand what these kids are going through everyday.”
Bernardi said the event’s organizers worked hard to make sure the event ran smoothly and was successful.
There was a magician and Dan Stone from Stone Country taught line dances, she said. Several organizations on campus such as the Association of Residence Halls and Fellows sponsored hours of the event, providing entertainment to help inspire the dancers.
Although those participating didn’t actually have to dance for the entire marathon, dancers were required to stay on their feet for all 24 hours.
“We had swing and salsa dance lessons as well [as line dancing,]” Bernardi said.
Martinez said the marathon truly was an inspiring experience.
“I’m so glad I did [the marathon,]” she said. “I met so many people and made new friends during this event. I’m not sure if I will do it again, but I will definitely donate money and visit people participating. It was just such a rough experience.”
Throughout the evening, visitors came and provided motivation for all involved.
“We had endless visitors coming to donate and show their support for friends or family who were dancing,” Bernardi said.
The miracle kids’ attendance at the event was what really made the night special, Martinez said.
“One little girl fell in love with one of the boy dancers,” she said. “She followed him around all night and wrote him little messages. She even had me make sure he saw them. That’s what this night is all about. It gives those kids great memories and we are doing something that will really benefit them.”