Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 13, Case Western Reserve University’s Dance Marathon (DM) team will host its greatest undertaking yet: a 12-hour dance marathon to benefit the pediatric patients at University Hospitals. The event will run from noon to midnight in the Veale fieldhouse and is open to the entire Cleveland community; in fact, several young cancer patients will be making an appearance. It’s all part of the group’s effort to “inspire all, enable dreams, [and] live courage.”
As the name suggests, the event will last a full 12 hours, with an hourly line dance to help keep track of the time. But there will be plenty to do besides dance. A Euchre tournament will be held around 1 p.m. and a cornhole tournament around 5 p.m., each with a donation admission of $5 per person and with prizes for the winners. Cards and cornhole will also be available throughout the event, as well as arts and crafts, miniature golf, Guitar Hero, and, tentatively, Delta Tau Delta’s renowned Whack-a-Delt.
Paint Me Happy, a local organization that makes hats for cancer patients, will be setting up a station around 4 p.m. where attendees can paint hats to donate to the children at University Hospitals. Attendees may also compete in a tower-building contest using only spaghetti and marshmallows.
There will be music and dance performances from a number of CWRU student groups, as well as local high school talent A-PoPhasis, a hip-hop dance team. Sustenance will be provided, but there will be no chairs; the goal is for everyone to stay on their feet for the entire 12 hours or as long as possible. The closest dancers will get to a rest will be in the form of a moonbounce.
Attendees can register as either dancers (for an encouraged donation of $50) or moralers (for $5). Dancers attempt to make it through the entire 12 hours, while moralers may come and go; teams of one dancer and several moralers are encouraged. Those interested can register online at dmcwru.com/registration.
Preparation for the event has been extensive. CWRU DM is not even a year old—it was first USG-recognized last February—but it is fast becoming a presence on campus. Founder Eric Mott, a fourth-year mechanical and aerospace engineering double major, intends to make campus traditions out of DM’s two major events, Dancing with the CWRU Stars and Dance Marathon. He and around a dozen dedicated DM members have been working since last fall to make the marathon a reality.
“We’ve been working really hard to bring something kind of special and unique to Case,” says Mott. “It feels like…I never thought this day would come.” Now that it finally has, CWRU DM is already gearing up for next semester’s Dancing with the CWRU Stars. They’re encouraging ideas for faculty “stars.”
Besides Dancing with the CWRU Stars and Dance Marathon, CWRU DM has also “created a very strong relationship with University Hospitals,” according to Mott. DM has been coordinating considerable volunteer efforts in University Hospitals’ pediatric wards. So far they have around 50 student volunteers, who make up the majority of CWRU’s Civic Engagement Scholars and who have been trained to work closely with the pediatric patients.
In terms of fundraising efforts, DM has a short-term goal of $25,000—enough to initiate a fund for the families of children fighting cancer at UH—in the next two years. They hope to “develop a tradition of keeping money from the community in the community,” says Mott. “We have a great children’s hospital here, one of the best in the Midwest…Our goal is to encourage people to come and get treated here.”
One of the greatest rewards, says Mott, will be seeing some of the children at the marathon. He hopes to bring as many pediatric patients to the event as possible. Not only will it be fun for them, but the other attendees will be able to see the substantial impact CWRU DM has had on the community. As Mott says, “Nothing great has ever been accomplished by playing small.”