Dance marathon raises money for children

Children’s Miracle Network organization hosts UW-Eau Claire’s first dance marathon

More stories from Brian Sheridan


Photo by Brian Sheridan

Participants in the dance marathon performing their hourly, coordinated dance number.

UW-Eau Claire’s Children’s Miracle Network brought a night of festivities April 2 to the Ojibwe Ballroom with hot jams, a myriad of games and large-scale dance numbers for people to get down with their bad selves in its first dance marathon.

And why are they dancing?

For all the children who can’t.

The club hosted its first of many dance marathons meant to fundraise for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals that help the families of sick children. A movement that was started in 1991 for colleges and high schools, the marathons have now raised billions of dollars across 350 schools for the United States’ 170 hospitals.

Co-president of the organization Lauren Grover helped orchestrate the event and get the people of Eau Claire on their feet. She said since this is their first dance marathon, it was only 10 hours, yet some can run anywhere from 12 to 36 hours.

“It’s like standing in support of the children and to fundraise,” Grover said. “So we say, I’m going to stand here for 10 hours straight while you support medicine and ask for fundraising.”

Grover said they were hoping to raise $5,000 before the end of the marathon at 2 a.m. on Sunday. With the help of over 70 participates throughout the night, they managed to raise over $6,000 for those kids.

The night was filled with events like Zumba, swing dancing lessons, karaoke, live music, a talent show and then every couple hours, Grover said, a family will come up and tell their story.

Felicity Baldwin and Scott Gilbertson were ones to share their story. When their first child Eloya was born, she had Gastroschisis, which is where there’s a hole in their stomach. Baldwin said when they’re born, their intestines, some of their stomach or any other organ could be on the outside of their body.

Then, a few months later, their second child Tinette also had Gastroschisis. Baldwin said the odds of survival were around one in a billion.

Baldwin and Gilbertson said the hospital helped pay for food vouchers, baby formula, gas and places to stay in the area since they lived around 40 minutes away.

“They’re just a great organization that, not only can help you financially but physically and mentally, too,” Baldwin said. “If you just need to talk, they’re there. Through them we get to meet people like Lauren who invited us to this dance marathon.”

Gilbertson said it was good to see a younger generation so involved in an organization to help kids. A member of that younger generation was sophomore nursing student Megan Schroeder.

Schroeder said she heard about the marathon through Grover and decided to come out because she thought it was a really good cause.

“Obviously cancer is a really big deal so we want to try and help as many people as we can,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder said she was there from the start of the event at 3:30 p.m. and planned on staying until the very end at 2 a.m. She said she liked the relaxed environment of the entire event and didn’t feel compelled to always be doing something, although she said she did enjoy some hula hooping and a little Zumba. Unfortunately, Schroeder said her dancing skills did not improve much.

As for the results of her first dance marathon, Schroeder said this is something she would do again and thinks more people should do as well.

“I like how it brings us together as a community,” Schroeder said. “I feel like more people should be involved so that all of our students can come together for a good cause.”