Dance Marathon co-chairs connect to ‘Miracle’ kids​

Annual 12-hour dance party raises money for Children's Miracle Network hospitals 

​Born two months premature, Washington University in St. Louis student Christy Marx underwent multiple surgeries at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Michigan. She remembers one in particular.

“When I was 3 or 4, I was really frightened before a surgery and I wanted my Barney,” said Marx, a senior studying anthropology, public health, and women, gender, and sexuality studies, all in Arts & Sciences. “So they put him in a huge, sterile bag and let him come with me to the operating room. I remember feeling, ‘I’ve got this now. I’ve got Barney.’ That little extra level of care made a huge difference.”

Marx now supports the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as co-chair of Dance Marathon. A Washington University tradition for 16 years, Dance Marathon raises money for the two-member pediatric hospitals of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of Greater St. Louis: St. Louis Children’s Hospital and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. Washington University’s event is part of a nationwide network that has raised $62 million for 170 hospitals.

Dance Marathon co-chairs Katie Caul (left) and Christy Marx smile. (Photo courtesy of Ali Truwit)

Due to construction at the Athletics Complex, the Danforth University Center will host this year’s Dance Marathon. The 12-hour party kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, and will feature themed dance hours, performances, games, free food and visits from Miracle kids who are treated at the local hospitals. That’s Marx’s favorite part.

“You really understand the impact when you hear their stories,” Marx said. “I think a lot of people come as freshmen because a 12-hour dance party sounds awesome and it is. But when you see how much this support means to the kids and families, you want to get involved.”

Marx’s co-chair, Katie Caul, a junior studying psychology and anthropology, both in Arts & Sciences, also knows what it’s like to be treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Though she is a competitive runner, Caul has cystic fibrosis and continues to use a medical vest, given to her by SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, to clear the thick mucus from her lungs daily.

She appreciates that Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals do all they can to help kids enjoy their lives. Dance Marathon donations have funded a rooftop garden at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, visits from therapy dogs and clowns, and programs that keep patients connected to their classrooms.

“We always joke with people, ‘Unless you don’t like children, there is no reason not to come,’” Caul said. “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals do more than provide top medical care; they treat children like children.”