The annual University of Valparaiso Dance Marathon raised a total of $ 72,431 for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
This total was the most money ever raised by Dance Marathon.
Due to COVID restrictions, the event took place on the West Lawn in the tent on April 11.
“Thus, in 2019, the dance marathon raised $ 70,000, then last year, for the virtual event, we raised $ 56,000, which exceeded all our expectations for a virtual event. And then this year we got to $ 72,000, so we’re back on top of where we were before, ”said Lillia Pogue, President of the Dance Marathon.
The executive board was unsure what the total fundraising amount would be until the final reveal.
“The executive council, we don’t talk about money all year round. We don’t know where we are fundraising which is all kept under wraps, it’s private because we are just focused on providing a really great experience for the community and honoring the cause, ”said Pogue. “And at the end of the year, we didn’t find out about it before anyone else, so we didn’t expect to have the highest ever lifted, but it was a really amazing surprise after working really hard to keep this tradition alive. .
Traditionally, the dance marathon takes place on the first Saturday in April from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“And we welcome 400 to 600 people throughout the event. And we have miracle families coming, which are families that were treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital, and they come and they share their stories with us in person and it’s a great day of lots of games and really fun competitions and activities during fundraising. throughout the twelve hours, ”Pogue said. “And also throughout your learning of a choreographed morale dance, that’s where the dance takes place.”
The evening concludes with a performance of the Morale Dance and a reveal of the total fundraiser.
This year, following the COVID-19 pandemic, many changes had to be made to Dance Marathon.
“These decisions weren’t made at the start of the year, they were made during this semester because we were waiting to see what the guidelines would be approved by the health department,” Pogue said.
Due to COVID collection restrictions, the event took place on the West Lawn.
“So usually it’s in the ARC and the main gym and this year it was on the West Lawn. It was originally scheduled for April 10, Saturday. Of course, it was rainy all day Saturday so our rainy day was Sunday April 11th when it ended up happening. And it ended up being a very sunny day so it was good, ”said Pogue.
This year, the Dance Marathon hosted four two-hour sessions with a maximum of 100 people in order to meet the college’s COVID requirements.
“We were way below each session, we were very happy. So we started at eleven o’clock and went until seven o’clock. So we had four two hour shifts and people would come in and we did everything we would do in a normal dance marathon just compacted in two hours, ”said Pogue.
The groups were chosen at random.
“So normally every year the entrants are split into different teams based on their t-shirt color and it’s all hit and miss and we did that at the start of this year. And then we randomly split everyone up into sessions and then if people had issues or conflicts with a certain time we could change that for them, but it was also done randomly which session people were going to be in. Pogue said.
Each group did a series of different activities during the event.
“Each group had different activities, but on the same schedule, so each group learned a different section of the morale dance. So the morale dance is a ten or fifteen minute choreographed dance and we split it into four sections so that each section learns a different dance, ”Pogue said.
In addition to social distancing, other health precautions were followed.
“Obviously we were taking the temperatures before everyone else came in and we had social distances when we were there and all that stuff and of course the mask requirements. Everything we did, we approved by the Department of Health, ”said Pogue.
Getting everything approved by the Department of Health was another step in the process.
“So there was a whole new aspect of planning that had to be done to make sure it was done safely and then just the sessions. So we’re used to having a large crowd of people. They all come at the same time and they stay and we provide them with food. We didn’t provide any food this year, which was just given to them on the way out so no one would take off their masks, ”Pogue said.
Due to meeting restrictions, Miracle Families were unable to attend in person this year.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have Miracle Families with us in person, but we had videos of everyone that we shared at the event in each session,” Pogue said.
The management of the dance marathon also worked to integrate them as much as possible into their event.
“So we took pictures with the color teams with the posters we made of the families, so we did our best to fit them in, but I would have loved to see the families there,” Pogue said. “So that they can all go to [a] virtual session, then go to the live stream for the final reveal. “
There was a virtual session offered if people did not feel comfortable attending the event in person.
“We also had a virtual component, so if someone needed to participate virtually, they wanted to, they felt more comfortable, we encouraged them to participate in our five-to-seven session which was a virtual session. integrated where they got a combination of live broadcast. the main event and also the content that was just right for them, ”Pogue said.
The last part of the night was broadcast live.
“At 7:30 am we had a livestream going, it was just the management team there at the time, and we did the final morale dance and the rewards as a management team, but we broadcast it live to anyone who wanted to see it, ”said Pogue.
The biggest difference about this year’s event for Pogue is that the Miracle Families couldn’t be there.
“I think the most important part in my opinion is getting that exposure from families, listening to their stories and giving them this platform to do it. But also to allow them to see the support they receive and to see the whole community rally behind them and also so that the dancers see that that’s why I’m doing this. And see, that’s what we do and people need our help and I think that’s a really special part, ”said Pogue.
Pogue believes the event was a success despite the challenges they faced.
“And then we did the total fundraising reveal and we actually raised more than we had in other years. So we had a very successful year this year despite all the challenges of living in a pandemic, so it ended up being extremely successful, ”she said.