Dancing for a good cause

More than 150 students hope to raise $125,000 at Dance Marathon, one of the most successful student fund-raising activities at FIU. Proceeds from the event will benefit children with medical and financial needs at Miami Children’s Hospital.

By Isadora Rangel

Students and members of the South Florida community will gather Saturday, Jan. 31, at noon, for the 12th Annual FIU Dance Marathon. The event will be held at University Park’s Recreation Center and will end on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.

A 25-hour marathon of dancing, DJ performances, games and special guests, the event raises funds to benefit children with medical and financial needs at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) . Organizers hope Dance Marathon, one of the largest student fund-raising events at FIU, will raise $125,000. In the previous 11 years the event has raised approximately $600,000.

The premise is simple: Volunteers commit to not sit or sleep for 25 hours. The gesture is meant to represent the youthful spirit of the patients at Miami Children’s Hospital as well as pay homage to their suffering.

Last year's participants raised $114,000 for charity.

“If [Dance Marathon participants] stand on their feet it can be exhausting, but it represents the pain of the children,” said Mariela Campuzano, coordinator in the Center of Leadership & Service. Organizers have a number of events planned to keep dancers inspired all 25 hours, and meals will be provided every four hours. Volunteer nurses will be on hand should any assistance be required by the dancers.

The Dance Marathon will feature comedian Ellie, the Miami Heat Dancers and the band Dear Dad Yours Truly, among other attractions. It will also have an athlete spirit hour for FIU athletes, a faculty/staff hour, and an alumni party. Special guests will include former MCH patients who will share their stories with the public.

Volunteer dancers who want to participate in the event have to give a minimum donation of $140 and can register as a group of five or more people if they choose. Registration can be done on the FIU Dance Marathon website (www.fiu.edu/~dm). Walk-in participants are welcomed and can sign up on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 8:30 a.m to 11 a.m. Visitors pay $5 for a five-hour shift.