Cardinal Dance Marathon set Feb. 1 to raise funds for Children’s Hospital

By Valerie Bustamante


University Mission and Ministry is sponsoring a 12-hour dance marathon Feb. 1, 2014, in Marian Hall Ballroom to benefit The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

Earlier this fall, the hospital approached University’s Mission and Ministry’s board about sponsoring the dance marathon at the University of the Incarnate Word.

“Sister Michelle O’ Brien and Jason Meza with the Christus Foundation thought it was a natural connection to ask us to sponsor the fundraiser,” Beth Villarreal, director of Mission and Ministry. “It was an immediate ‘Yes. ’”

“The Cardinal Dance Marathon 2014: Party with a Purpose” will be conducted noon to midnight Feb. 1. It will consist of dance performances, dance lessons, a black light dance party, Wii dance competitions, free food, and much more. The goal is for participants to stay on their feet for 12 full hours in an effort to raise money for the hospital.

“One hundred percent of the money raised at the (marathon) will go directly to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio,” Villarreal said. “Our goal is to raise $20,000 for the San Antonio Children’s Hospital.”

Mission and Ministry hopes to recruit 200 dancers, each bringing in a goal of $200.

“Even though $200 may sound like a lot to raise, it’s not very hard to do,” Villarreal said. “There are many ways to raise your money – from hosting a car wash with your friends on a weekend, to writing letters to family members asking for donations or even doing a bake sale at your local school.”

Amanda Gamez, co-executive chair of the marathon, said besides the money being raised there is another hope.

“I am hoping to establish a new tradition here at UIW and give college students a deeper understanding of what we can do,” Gamez said. “I feel as though some students believe that we are still too young to accomplish great goals but through this event I feel as though we can change the lives of children even younger than us and who knows? Maybe they will be in our shoes doing what we’re doing today.”

Children’s Miracle Network, the host of the fundraiser, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the lives of children by raising money for children’s hospitals across North America. The network has about 170 hospitals around the world helping kids of every age with a variety of diseases from cancer to AIDS to heart defects.

Founded in 1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Children’s Miracle Network has grown, coming from a televised fundraiser in a studio to one of the world’s leading children’s charities, helping 17 million kids each year.

“(Through the network) over $60 million has been fundraised across the nation since the program began,” Villarreal said.

The dance marathons bring awareness to students of pediatrics and give them the opportunity to interact with families and children served by their local hospitals.

“The whole reason of what Dance Marathon stands for is unity,” Campus and Relations Chair Will Weller said. “College students come together from all over the campus participating in something they would probably never expect to do for one common purpose, to help out the kids.

“My goal is to focus specifically reaching out to and building relationships with my campus community,” Weller said. “I plan on strategically reaching out to various groups on campus to educate them about (the) Dance Marathon and encourage their participation with the cause.”



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