The 12-hour event lasted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. where hundreds of students vowed to be on their feet and dance.
Among other decorations in the ballroom was a wall of colored paper balloons. Participants wrote on each why they were dancing, ranging from motives that said, “I dance because I believe in miracles,” to “I dance because every child deserves the chance to dream big.”
One balloon in particular touched the heart of 6-year-old Trace Boyett’s mom, Wendy Boyett.
It said, “I dance for mommies who want to see their children LIVE their LIVES.”
“That was awesome,” Boyett said about the balloon, who said she was “proud” of what the students were doing to help the children.
Boyett said Trace suffered from severe jaundice as a baby, which almost caused retardation and that he later struggled with sight problems because of cataracts.
Boyett said that money raised to help the Children’s Miracle Network by events like the Dance Marathon saved her son’s life.
“If it hadn’t of been for the donations that equipment wouldn’t of been there and my son could’ve possibly had mental issues along with his visual issues,” Boyett said.
Casey Stein, director of the event and a sophomore in human development and family studies, said they worked hard to make the event flow well for those participating.
Stein said they coordinated games, special guests to teach the dancers things like zoomba and swing dancing and served food.
Stein’s motivation for the event runs deeper than simple compassion: she is a product of the Children’s Miracle Network.
“I actually grew up in a Children’s Miracle Network hospital,” Stein said. “I’m a miracle child too. I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatory arthritis when I was 6 years old. I was in the hospital in and out, two to three days a week until I was about 14.”
Even before the unmasking of the $65,995.25 raised by the fundraiser, Stein said the event “has exceeded my expectations.”
Devin Williamson, undecided freshman, said she had been at the marathon the entire 12 hours.
“It’s been amazing being able to help the kids,” Williamson said.
“FTK!” was the theme shout of the night, standing for “For the Kids!” as each dancer remembered to stand for those who cannot.
As 10 p.m. hit, the ballroom erupted into cheers and the dancers took a seat for the first time in 12 hours, finishing off the marathon and continuing to shout “FTK!”