GABBY MOLINE | STAFF REPORTER
On Saturday, Jan. 23, Butler held its 14th dance marathon and raised more than $300,000 for the cause.
Since 2003, Butler University held a dance marathon each year to raise awareness and money for children that are treated at Riley Children’s Hospital. During the event, participants stand or dance for 12 hours to support those who are not able to.
On the day of the event, there was plenty of music, food, and activities for all the participants to enjoy. A professional hypnotist dazzled the crowd, sophomore Shannon Rostin provided a few laughs, and the Indy Air Bears defied gravity with their jump rope routine.
The most moving and impactful events throughout the day, however, were the stories of Riley children and their families.
One of these stories came from Hannah Fulford, a 12-year-old girl who had open-heart surgery to repair four holes in her heart. Her mother Maidena Fulford reflected on why her family enjoys attending dance marathons.
“We like to give a short glimpse of what it was like,” Fulford said. “First of all, we do it to inspire and to see what can happen afterward. Second, it’s for our daughter, because we want her to tell her story.”
To make this event possible, a group of dedicated people put in long hours to complete all of the necessary preparation. These people served on committees such as marketing, entertainment, and morale.
Senior Megan Yates, BUDM president of internal, said the executive committee was very supportive throughout the year and always pushed each other to raise more money. On the day of the event, Yates got to see the group’s hard work pay off.
“I love seeing all the Riley families tell their stories and touch students in the Butler community who don’t have a connection to Riley,” Yates said. “I think at the end of the day the dancers see what exec sees and why we raise money.”
The Butler University Dance Marathon would not be possible, though, without the dancers and fundraisers.
Freshman Amanda Rosenfeld was involved in dance marathons throughout her high school career and continued the tradition here at Butler.
“My favorite part of BUDM was when I saw a girl dancing with us and had no idea she was a Riley kid until she went up and talked about her experience,” Rosenfeld said. “It was really cool to see how spirited the Riley kids are despite what they’ve dealt with in life.”
Freshman Ethan Kitt, who also helped serve on the Riley Relations committee, danced in support of his girlfriend, mom, and cousin, who were once Riley kids themselves.
“My favorite part of the Butler dance marathon was the candle lighting at the end of the marathon in honor of Sarah Michelle Cohen and all the other Riley children,” Kitt said. “It’s times like that when you feel blessed for the life you were given and want to do bigger things because of what others cannot.”