Dance Marathon celebrates finding their “why”

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This year’s Luther College Dance Marathon was a landmark year as it was LCDM’s fifth event.  After we saw a huge increase in the fundraising total last year, the executive board this year sought to keep morale high and emphasize the true focus of the organization: the miracle kids and their families. For the Kids! 

This is the reason that dancers dance and participate in Dance Marathon.  All fundraising money benefits families and their accommodations at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.  Donations provide meals, parking passes, pharmaceutical co-pays, event funding, research funding, and even funeral costs. However, each dancer also has their own story, or their  “why,” for getting involved and staying involved with DM.   

During my first year of high school, I joined the Dance Marathon that took place at the University of Iowa as a way to give back after losing my dad to colon cancer only a month previous. Though childhood illness is something much different than what my family and dad experienced, I immediately empathized with many of the stories I heard: those of life-changing news, long hospitals stays and treatment plans, losing loved-ones. The list goes on. 

Dancers may get involved because of a personal connection to childhood illness, an interest in a service career, or just a general interest in helping and connecting with others.  This year we wanted to celebrate everyone’s “why.” 

Starting with our Push Day on March 14, which is also National Write Your Story Day, we asked dancers to share their story, their “why.” This theme came alive at our Big Event on April 7.  Dancers stood, danced, laughed, cried, and came together from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. 

Our event shirts this year feature a puzzle piece containing a symbol of each of our Miracle Families’ story. Put together, the pieces formed the shape of the number five to represent our fifth year.  As each family shared their story on stage during the Big Event, they each became a part of all of the dancers’ stories too. 

As I graduate and become an LCDM alum I am proud to leave Luther knowing that these stories will continue to inspire and empower students to come together for a common cause and get involved in student-led organizations that truly give back.  It is an accomplishment to raise $67,539.22 for the kids this year, but I feel that it is an even bigger success to see dancers find their “why.”


Emily Starman (‘18)

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