Dance Marathon: 10 years of toe tapping for a good cause

The 2008 St. Louis Area Dance Marathon will begin at 3 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Recreational Gym of the Athletic Complex.

The 12-hour dance-a-thon is the culmination of a year’s worth of fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis.

More than 1,000 participants have registered to dance, and visitors are welcome to make a $5 donation and join the fun between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. The day’s schedule includes performances from campus and local dance groups, as well as contests and games.

“The Executive Board and I are so excited to celebrate the 10th Dance Marathon with the Washington University and St. Louis communities,” said senior Lauren Statman, executive director of this year’s St. Louis Area Dance Marathon. “With more than 1,000 dancers registered, and hundreds of parents and families visiting for Parents & Family Weekend, we are looking forward to hosting the most participants and visitors in Dance Marathon history.”

An added twist to the fundraiser this year: a text-messaging campaign. From now until Oct. 26, anyone who wishes to support Dance Marathon and Children’s Miracle Network may send a text message to the number 90999 with the text “dance.” This text message shows up as a one-time fee of $5 on the donor’s phone bill, and it goes to Children’s Miracle Network.

“If every dancer, visitor and supporter of Dance Marathon each sends one text message, we can make over $5,000 for Children’s Miracle Network,” Statman said.

Parents and families of dancers who are in for Parents & Family Weekend are especially invited to visit the marathon during Family Hours between 5-8 pm. During this time, they can enjoy the Faculty and Staff Dance Entrance at 5:30 p.m., join their dancer for dinner beginning at 6 p.m., learn more about Dance Marathon in the “Decade of DM” museum and meet the families of children who have been treated in St. Louis hospitals.

Participants and visitors will have the opportunity to bid in the “miracle auction” and special raffles. Prizes include four round-trip tickets courtesy of American Airlines and the “Rock Band 2” video game, courtesy of Best Buy.

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend a welcome reception at 4:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Athletic Complex but are also welcome to visit at any time.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has volunteered to donate $10 to Children’s Miracle Network for every faculty or staff member who visits. The $10 is in honor of 2008 marking the 10th Dance Marathon at WUSTL.

Information about donating and visiting can be found

Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis supports St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.

All funds raised are used to help these hospitals fund programs, equipment and facility renovations to meet the needs of area children. In 2007, Dance Marathon donated more than $176,000 to the charity.