A marathon effort by Hope students raised more than $23,000 for area children.

The students organized a 24-hour "Dance Marathon" in the Dow Center on Friday-Saturday, March 10-11, to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network at DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The $23,000-plus the students collected was more than any other liberal arts college of Hope's size raised in a school's first year sponsoring one of the marathons, according to Children's Miracle Network. The previous high was less than $5,000.

The effort was sponsored by the Greek system at Hope but involved campus residence halls and other student organizations as well. Preparations and fundraising began in November.

More than 80 dancers took to the floor for the marathon, with more than twice that number serving in a variety of behind- the-scenes or supporting roles, including as "moralers" available to lift spirits and provide back rubs. Volunteer time from all participants totalled 9,697 hours.

The event's rules allowed a variety of activities during the 24-hour run, including not only dancing but also playing catch or shooting baskets--so long as the students stayed on their feet on the gym floor. Dance Marathon was inspired by similar events at other schools on behalf of hospitals that are part of Children's Miracle Network.

The funds will help cover the costs of treatment for 10 children at the hospital. The children and their families attended the event, and the Hope students had also spent time getting to know the children in the weeks before the marathon.