SFU prepares to cut a rug for annual Dance Marathon

This year’s Dance Marathon is promised to feature 10 full hours of dancing. - Photo courtesy of SFU Dance Marathon

SFU will be putting their dancing shoes on once again for the third annual SFU Dance Marathon (SFUDM), an event organized by a dedicated team of students in order to raise funds for the patients at BC Children’s Hospital.

In the 10-hour event packed with games, activities, and a whole lot of dancing, SFU students will be participating to raise funds for the kids at BC Children’s Hospital. “SFU Dance Marathon is not only a philanthropic event on campus, but we are part of a greater movement across North America,” said Caitlyn Schwab, co-president of SFUDM. “Over 300 high schools and universities work in part with Children’s Miracle Network to run Dance Marathons. Together we have raised over $106 million dollars for local children’s hospitals.”

Participants will also have the opportunity to win prizes throughout the night, as well as hear speeches from BC Children’s Hospital’s miracle children. The team is already hard at work fundraising for the kids, as they held a “Bowling for Miracles” night in December and partnered with Chop Shop Hair Salon in New Westminster, with the proceeds of each haircut going towards their cause.

Amy Gill, the team’s Public Relations Officer, outlined the vision of the marathon this year. “The goal for this year is to raise $25,000 for the BC Children’s Hospital,” she explained. “Apart from that, another major team goal this year is to raise more awareness about SFU Dance Marathon — not only within the SFU community, but across all of the Lower Mainland.”

Each executive team member has their own personal reasons for getting involved with the cause. Schwab’s nine-year-old cousin was born with a severe heart defect, and underwent three open heart surgeries at BC Children’s Hospital.

“If it was not for the incredible work done by the staff at BC Children’s Hospital, my family would not be so lucky as to have my cousin [here today],” she said.

This year’s marathon will be held on February 20, 2016, and registration for dancers to join individually or on a team is now open on the SFUDM website, and volunteer applications are also live on the site until the countdown for the big day. Yasamin Houshmand, internal relations officer, said of SFUDM’s opportunities for students, “We are helping students gain valuable leadership, sponsorship, event planning and technical skills [in the process].”

For community outreach coordinator Marlena Ornowska, the Dance Marathon has a special place in her heart. “It is hard to describe [how special the event is] to someone who has not attended a dance marathon before,” said Ornowska, “but the message and sentiments of this movement stay with you for so much longer than just the duration of the event itself.”