Dancing the night away
Hope Yates, a first-year student at Iowa State University, will be pulling an all-nighter on Friday night.
Hope is a dedicated student, but this staying-up-all-night event will not be to study for a big test or finish a paper. She will be putting on her dancing shoes to support kids who are battling serious illnesses – in some cases, life-threatening ones.
She will stay in those shoes for 12 hours straight – from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday.
Hope is one of hundreds of people participating in this year’s Dance Marathon, which supports the Children’s Miracle Network. It’s her third year of dancing – two at North Scott High School as a leader and now her first at Iowa State as a participant.
“These kids have done nothing wrong, but they cannot live full lives,” she said.
Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 450 schools – all raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. These are the hospitals – including the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital – that care for kids with cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, pediatric AIDS, or who need heart or lung transplants.
The students spend a year learn leadership skills while raising funds and gathering awareness for kids and families experiencing pediatric illness.
The year culminates with a 12-40 hour event where students stay on their feet through dancing and all sorts of other fun. Since it’s founding, Dance Marathon has raised more than $106 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
In 1991, students at Indiana University founded Dance Marathon in the memory of Ryan White. Ryan was one of the first public faces of HIV/AIDS after he was expelled from his middle school because of the disease. He died in 1990, one month shy of his high school graduation.
Beyond Dance Marathon, Hope is studying to become a physical therapist. Specifically, she is interested in learning more about working with people who have cancer.
“Seeing the kids – or the families who have lost a child – having the most fun at Dance Marathon, they inspire me to want to do more,” Hope said.