JUST DANCE

Jess James and Jess James

With moist eyes and tired feet, senior Emily Martin will never forget the lives she changed while being a part of Dance Marathon 2010.

“The way you feel rolling back into town, knowing all those people supported you, is mind blowing,” Martin said. “Being able to actually meet and see our miracle child is an emotional experience that truly makes you appreciate Dance Marathon and the great people you meet.”

Martin was one of 110 bikers who participated in Bikes for Tykes, a 180-mile charity bike ride that started in Cincinnati and ended in Bowling Green on Sunday. For the past eight years, 10-year-old Dylan has been the sponsored miracle child for Bikes for Tykes. He has been diagnosed with epilepsy, autism and a serious heart condition.

“We really don’t know if [Dylan] understands the concept of Dance Marathon, but every year we see him. His eyes just light up, and we try to play games and have fun, just make him as happy as possible,” Martin said.

The 32-hour event raised $152,119.61 for the Children’s Miracle Network to help provide medical services to terminally ill children at the Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo. This year’s event collected $3,000 more than last year’s $126,239.79.

Courtney Hanley, assistant chair on the Dance Marathon committee, said even though there weren’t as many participants, raising more money than last year was a rewarding feeling.

“I couldn’t believe we raised that much money with the economy and everything being the way it is. It felt really good to give all of our proceeds to the hospital,” Hanley said. “During the middle of the night, there was probably only 50 dancers, so I definitely noticed there were a lot less people involved than past years.”

More than 25 miracle families from all across Ohio showed their thanks to those who helped make Dance Marathon 2010 a continuing success.

Miracle Child Hunter Bute is an 8-year-old boy from Defiance, Ohio, suffering from Takayasu’s arteritis, an inflammatory disease that slowly attacks the immune system. Young boys like Hunter will go home with a new friend made and a smile on their face because of the students who helped make Dance Marathon 2010 a memorable experience.

Laura Roberts is Hunter’s mom and a first-year attendee of the University’s Dance Marathon. She said the student compassion behind Dance Marathon is different than other college charity events.

“We’ve been here for 16 hours and the students couldn’t be doing a better job,” Roberts said. “The thing that sets Bowling Green’s Dance Marathon apart from other colleges is [that] they want people to know what they’re helping and the children they’re benefiting. You can tell how much time and effort was put into all this, and to see everything come together makes you truly appreciate everyone involved.”

Previous Dance Marathons have had a better turnout than this year, which had 200 fewer dancers than in 2009.

Regardless of the declining number of volunteers, Dance Marathon has always been strongly supported by the University for its community service and the reputation it has built the past 15 years.

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Jill Carr was one of several University officials in attendance at Dance Marathon 2010.

“This is my fifteenth Dance Marathon and my fourth year having the honor to speak at this great event,” Carr said. “We’re celebrating 15 years of Dance Marathon, we’re celebrating the education BGSU offers and we’re celebrating 100 years of a tradition of students like you. Everyone here is awesome.”

Individual awards were given at the end of the celebration for the students and organizations that collected the most money and showed the most spirit. The overall most spirited dancer went to freshman Michael Majors who is a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and a first-year Dance Marathon attendee.

“I couldn’t be happier to be involved in Dance Marathon,” Majors said. “The cause itself is so incredible. To see the end result with the kids and the miracle families brings tears to your eyes. My feet hurt, I’m tired, but that all goes away after you know what you’ve been a part of.”

When the event was over and the time to celebrate came to a close, senior Dance Marathon Director Michelle Robinson was pleased with the end results.

“Dance Marathon has changed my life, impacted my life and has taught me not to sweat the small stuff,” Robinson said. “Every year when I am at Dance Marathon, I see all these kids battling these diseases and I can’t have any kind of anger or stress. It will be the memory I talk about with my kids, my grandkids. It’s the reason I love helping others and it’s the reason I love Bowling Green.”

FACTBOX:

By the numbers:

2009:

Raised $126,239.79

425 dancers

120 bikers

2010:

Raised $152,119.61

225 dancers

110 bikers