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Mini Marathon makes big difference for kids

Students walking through the Union yesterday afternoon turn their heads toward the music and laughter erupting from the ballroom.

Even though the doors are closed, the excitement and exuberance that emanates from the room can be felt through the vibrations in the floor.

The chant ‘For the Kids!’ is bellowed in unison while the stamping of feet causes the cashiers in the Falcon’s Nest to stare at the ceiling suspiciously. Unbeknownst to them, Mini Marathon has just announced its grand total: $9,072.70.

Mini Marathon, which is in its fifth year of operation, is a six-hour fundraiser put on by college students and attended by high school students.

This year, nine high schools and 107 dancers participated, compared to only five high schools last year.

‘Mini Marathon to me is the most inspiring dance marathon event we have,’ said Marissa McCarthy, the community outreach chair on the steering committee for DM. ‘You see students who lead busy lives and have such high priorities come together from different high schools and walks of life and give up their day for us.’

And though the event is based on the much bigger Dance Marathon, there are still many differences in its operation and running.

The theme of Mini Marathon, although based around DM’s Olympic idea, is represented by a different slogan. While Dance Marathon’s catch phrase is ‘One Team, One Dream,’ Mini Marathon’s is ‘The Power of Dreams, the Potential for Greatness.’

Also, while dancers participating in DM are given a student moraler to help them through the event, high school dancers involved in Mini Marathon were not. Instead, the 18 different morale captains watching over the students served as their motivation.

‘The morale captains serve as the spirit of the marathon,’ said morale captain Lizzie Keller. ‘The hardest part for the dancers is staying excited and it’s our job to make sure they’re always thinking about the kids in order to keep them going.’

In order to keep the students involved in the marathon, a number of different activities took place.

Along with corn hole tournaments, Guitar Hero and face painting, the traditional line dance was performed by both students and morale captains alike.

The line dance, which is also performed at DM, took one song from the last 13 years of the marathon and added a new one at the end.

‘The line dance was my favorite part of the day,’ said Megan Ingranam, a freshman student from Bowling Green High School. ‘It was just really cool to see some of the miracle families dancing along next to us.’

The 12 ‘miracle families,’ which are the same families represented by DM, were invited to attend Mini Marathon in order to see the progress made by the high school students raising money for improvements and additions to the St. Vincent Mercy Children’s Hospital.

‘The families are always encouraged to come out in order to be an inspiration to the dancers, but also to see what an inspiration they are themselves,’ Family Relations Chair Lauren Wolk said.

One of the miracle families, the Flyna family, who has disc jockeyed Mini Marathon for the last two years, plan on coming back to the event even though their healthy 7-year-old daughter Alexis has finished her leukemia treatments.

‘The students are just amazing to us,’ Erica Flyna said. ‘What they do here really reflects in the hospital. [Alexis] loves going to the doctor because of them.’

Taylor Jackson, a freshman student from Bowling Green High School, said the only reason she decided to join Mini Marathon was because of her desire to make a difference in the lives of children like Alexis.

‘It was an amazing experience helping out these kids,’ she said. ‘Seeing the smiles on their faces just made it all worthwhile.’

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