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Faculty gets footloose for Dance Marathon

We see them every day standing before a desk or a podium, lecturing us on biological make-ups or the history of the U.S. Their days are made up of lesson-plans, grading homework and administering tests.

But on March 29, campus faculty and staff will have the opportunity to switch up their role and throw on their dancing shoes instead.

Dance Marathon, the 13th annual 32-hour fundraiser that raises money in conjunction with the Children’s Miracle Network, has recruited its first ever faculty and staff dancers who will participate side by side with the students they teach in class.

In years passed, faculty and staff received general invitations requesting their support, but were never pushed to come out and participate in the event, said Faculty/Staff Chairman Tom Bethany.

But this year, Bethany and his team used their administrative contacts and friends in order to get the word out that faculty dancers were encouraged to participate in Dance Marathon.

‘We sent out monthly e-mails and newsletters specifically to the faculty on campus,’ Bethany said. ‘We also put articles in The Monitor, which is a magazine that goes directly to the desks of faculty asking them to become involved in any way possible.”

Although student dancers are asked to remain on their feet for 32 hours, the 25 faculty dancers who have signed up are only required to stand from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. They also were asked to raise $25 for the miracle families.

‘A lot of the faculty who have decided to become dancers have been here for 12 to 15 years,’ Bethany said. ‘Twenty five dollars is just a nice amount to ask for, but a lot of them have actually given us $50 or $100, which is just awesome.’

For Executive Vice President Linda Dobb, the structure and organization that went into planning the event were what encouraged her to become involved. Dobb will be co-disc jockeying the faculty hours with Union Director Mary Edgington and plans to either host a small reception afterwards or purchase mementos for the faculty involved.

‘This will be a nice thing to show support for students because it’s such a good cause and it means a lot to the [students] who are involved in this,’ Dobb said. ‘If you have the ability to make a difference, take the chance and get out there and if it’s fun along the way, that’s not such a bad thing.’

And though some faculty may have become involved because of the good times the marathon inspires, others have more personal reasons for joining. For Bryan Cavins, the associate director of the Student Recreation Center, Dance Marathon represents the hard work and caring demeanor of the students who dedicate their school year to the families who benefit from the money raised.

Cavins experienced these benefits first-hand when two of his children were diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which is a disease that attacks the kidneys and other organs.

Cavin’s 2-year-old son Sean and 5-year-old daughter Chloe were hospitalized at St. Vincent Mercy Children’s Hospital for two weeks while they underwent extensive monitoring and treatment.

As they started feeling better, Chloe and Sean began utilizing many of the donations made through the Children’s Miracle Network and Dance Marathon. Not only did they watch Barney and Disney movies in bed, but also took advantage of the spacious playroom and the toys and games it had to offer.

‘It helped us as parents to allow them some place to play because the emotional health of your child is very important to getting them physically better,’ Cavins said. ‘The more happiness, the more laughter, and the more smiles – the sooner they’re going to heal.’

Cavins will be speaking about his family and the experiences they went through during the faculty hours of Dance Marathon. He hopes his message will be not just a positive one, but something that sticks with the students and faculty participants, he said.

‘I’m very blessed, but at the same time I’m humbled that they asked me to speak,’ Cavins said. ‘There are so many students who are committed to this event, and it’s wonderful to see faculty and staff becoming so supportive of those students.’

Bethany hopes the added faculty and staff dancers will help raise more money and spirits during this year’s Dance Marathon, which will be held from March 29 through March 30. ‘It really adds to the community when the teachers get involved,’ Bethany said. ‘It takes a village to make a difference.” ‘ ‘

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