Every fall St. Norbert College Dance Marathon holds their biggest event of the year: Miracle Day. Dance Marathon is a movement on college campuses across the United States and Canada centered on raising funds for Children’s Hospitals through the Children’s Miracle Network. St. Norbert College’s chapter of Dance Marathon has been in existence for 5 years now. The organization is entirely student run and was started by Ryan Engesser, a student who saw a need for the philanthropic organization on the campus, with help from Jennifer Nissen in the Sturzl Center.
After a year of tirelessly raising money through donations, sponsorship, and fundraising events the organization holds a large celebration in honor of the families affected by the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The St. Norbert College Dance Marathon holds what it calls a “half marathon” in which participants choose to stay on their feet for 13.1 hours (the full marathon at schools like Iowa State University last 26.2 hours). The philosophy behind this is the participants “stand for the kids who can’t,” acknowledging the children being treated in Children’s Hospitals across the country and Canada.
Dance Marathon raises funds in various ways: generous sponsors and fundraising partners in the community support the group every year; committee members collect donations at Packer games, the annual spring event Pie-A-Professor is always well received by students, and the famous Seroogy’s sale, in addition to many other events and fundraisers. Perhaps the most important, however, is the collective effort of the participants (called dancers) who raise at least $50 each to attend Miracle Day. While this may seem daunting to some, the dancers always rise to the occasion. Some ask 10 friends for $5 each, others offer to post an embarrassing picture online for every $10 they raise, and of course grandparents are typically generous donors. Currently 321 dancers are registered to attend Miracle Day 2017 but there is always room for more.
The day itself is full of high energy activities and entertainment, from the always popular Disney Hour (a full hour of Disney songs to dance and sing to) to the morale dance that the group teaches at the beginning of the day and performs every hour, the event seems to fly by and participants rarely notice their tired feet. For those who do not consider themselves particularly enthusiastic dancers, the day includes other activities in a fun and spirited environment as well.
The highlight of the day is undoubtedly the family talks. Families whose children have been treated by Children’s Hospital come from the area and even out of state to speak about their experiences. All of the talks are filled with laughs, tears, and love from the entire community of committee members and dancers alike.
Of course the entire day leads up to the final reveal of how much money the organization has raised. Last year St. Norbert College Dance Marathon raised a staggering $56,007.04, beating their goal of $50,000. Over the course of their 5 year existence, the organization has raised over $150,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This year they hope to raise an incredible $70,000 with the help of the college community, local businesses, family and friends, and the wonderful dancers who are participating this year.
Miracle Day 2017 will be held in the Ray Van Den Heuvel Campus Center on Saturday, November 11th. If you would still like to register, you can find the necessary information here: https://goo.gl/2wtePf.