Dancing for a cause

Whatever you do, don’t sit down!

Music shook the walls of the ARC Saturday night as Davis experienced its first dance marathon, which raised over $7,000 to help benefit the UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento.

The free event was held in the ARC Ballroom from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday morning, and was put on by the Davis Dance Marathon (DDM) group on campus with the help of the Children’s Miracle Network and other sponsors.

“Basically, everything we do, we do for the kids,” said Eddie Yoo, president of the DDM group on campus.

The night included performances from live bands, dance groups on campus as well as a DJ on site to keep people dancing throughout the marathon. Signs were strewn on every wall encouraging people to stay on their feet for the whole eight hours. Though entrance was free and there were plenty of activities to participate in, like playing Just Dance 4, taking a silly picture at the photo stand, making headbands out of pipe cleaners at the craft table or even taking advantage of the abundance of free food available, there were also plenty of incentives to donate. Participants could donate $10 and get a full meal, $25 for a DDM T-shirt and $100 for the ultimate prize — a DDM survival package.
“It’s definitely not a new thing,” said Caroline Balagot, family relations coordinator for the DDM, who mentioned other universities around the country having dance marathons of their own to benefit children’s hospitals.

“We’re just trying to bring the dance movement and culture over to Davis,” Balagot said.

The DDM group, which started in January 2011, makes it a priority to visit the UC Davis Children’s Hospital several times throughout the year to meet the families who are receiving medical care. It also tries to raise awareness and raise funds for the hospital. The largest fundraiser prior to the DDM had been Miracle Munchies, which happened biquarterly in conjunction with the Theta Chi fraternity selling snack foods and drinks. All of the proceeds went to the Children’s Miracle Network and subsequently to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, which will use the money for new tools and finding more ways to make the hospital family-friendly.

“It’s been quite a journey to get to this point,” Yoo said, in reference to last year’s cancellation of the 2012 DDM. The event was terminated early because the funding required would have exceeded the profits generated for the hospital.

Many members of the DDM obviously have a passion for what they do.

“For me, I guess it’s that these kids come into this world, and they don’t ask for this,” said Arianna Oneto, a member of the DDM group. “If we can provide some sort of normalcy for them, that’s a really big deal.”

Since becoming a part of the DDM, Oneto has become a child life intern for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital and would like to be a child life specialist in the future.

The DDM group also had three “miracle families” — whose children currently receive medical care from UC Davis Children’s Hospital — join the festivities, giving them a separate room near the dance marathon where they threw a party in their honor.

“I can’t believe the turnout,” said Lindsay Walsh, mother of Sophia, one of the miracle children who is a patient at the hospital and has had several different surgeries since birth.

“The Children’s Hospital saved her life three separate times … we owe everything to UC Davis, and as a result, we choose to use UC Davis for everything she needs,” Walsh said.

Everyone can still donate to the DDM donor drive homepage until Feb. 1 at helpmakemiracles.org/event/davisdm, and you can visit the DDM group’s website at davisdm.org for more information.

MARIA MARCELINA CRYSTAL VEGA can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

Comments are closed.