The student-organized Dance Marathon at Hope has again raised a record amount “For the Kids.”
Held on Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7, in the Dow Center, this year’s marathon raised $370,671.21, topping last year’s record-high of $340,172.20 and bringing the event’s 21-year total to more than $3 million. More than 1,000 students participated as dancers, morale boosters or in a variety of other roles.
The 24-hour event, which has been held at Hope since 2000, is conducted on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids, both to raise funds and to build awareness of the hospital’s work.
Affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Dance Marathon at Hope is one of more than 400 such efforts at colleges, universities and high schools nationwide. In 2019, Hope’s Dance Marathon was recognized as the #4 fundraising program in the nation among campuses with fewer than 12,0000 undergraduates.
Activities on behalf of the marathon begin shortly after the beginning of the fall semester and involve nearly 30 student organizations.
To emphasize the children that the marathon exists to help, the Dance Marathon’s student organizers coordinate a variety of activities during the course of the school year to connect with families and children served by Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. In addition, each of the families is paired with one of the participating student groups. Events this year included mini-marathons at West Ottawa High School, Zeeland East High School and Holland Christian High School; and a Christmas party for the families in December.
Students involved with Dance Marathon raised funds for the effort in a variety of ways, from Homecoming Weekend’s annual 5K Donut Run; to writing letters to family and friends; to bake sales; to a trivia competition; to a community chili cook-off; to a competitive cornhole tournament; to a silent auction held at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Holland.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a 234-bed regional referral center and teaching hospital that also houses a pediatric neurocritical care unit, the only of such kind in West Michigan. It offers advanced pediatric specialty care with more than 300 pediatric physicians who practice in more than 50 pediatric specialties and programs. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is Michigan’s largest neonatal center.
In order to help support the vast number of children who visit the hospital each year, all proceeds from the marathon will go directly towards the funding of special programs that are designed to make the young patients’ visits to the hospital more bearable; helping the families of the children to deal with their illnesses; and supplies related to treatment and care.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $300 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since its inception in 1991.
Additional information about Dance Marathon and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is online.