Cardinals dance for fun(ds) at marathon

By Cassidy Fritts


The Cardinal Dance Marathon Team and UIW Mission and Ministry held the first Cardinal Dance Marathon on Saturday, Feb. 1, to raise money for Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

“Too often we are swept up in our own lives to remember those who are in need of our time as support,” said Amanda Gamez, executive chair of the Cardinal Dance Marathon.

“The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is one of these places that at times we may forget,” Gamez said. “This is why the Cardinal Dance Marathon Team organized the event with the slogan ‘Dance for the kids who can’t!’ ”

And dance they did. Participants danced continually from 4 p.m. to midnight not only to dance for the kids who were unable, but also to experience what it’s like to be standing for eight hours, which is equivalent to one of the nurse’s shifts at the hospital.

The idea of the dance marathon began after Ryan White, a patient and advocate of AIDS research, died in 1990. White’s friends at Indiana University hosted a dance marathon in his memory in 1991, and now more than 250 schools host dance marathons to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“The University of the Incarnate Word and the Office of Mission and Ministry are very pleased to be able to join the ranks of these fine institutions in an effort to bring hope and smiles to the children of San Antonio,” Gamez said.

The Cardinal Dance Marathon Team coordinated several activities such as a vocal performance by Sarah Centeno, a student at St. Anthony’s High School, and a Nia dance session with Joanie Brook. Dancers were also able to have caricatures drawn. Dinner was provided by California Pizza Kitchen to keep the participants energized.

The dancers also were able to meet and hear from Josh Bratton, a 13-year-old patient at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Bratton, also known as the night’s Miracle Child, made his entrance at the Cardinal Dance Marathon to “Bugler’s Dream,” the theme song of the Olympics.

As Bratton arrived, the dancers and volunteers all got down on one knee to show him and his family the respect they hold for them and their personal strength.

Bratton was diagnosed with four different diseases when he was only 4 months old: spina bifida, sacral agenesis, neurogenic bladder, and glutaric acidemia. He has been receiving care and treatment from Children’s Hospital of San Antonio his whole life. Although he suffers from multiple diseases, he continues to be an energetic teen who loves to play video games, take part in sports and outdoor activities, and do other activities normal 13-year-old boys do.

The dance marathon was not only helping Bratton, but the proceeds received will go on to help more than 140 patients at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. The funds raised will be used to assist the hospital in attaining 200 private beds, a new emergency room, on-site research space, new outdoor play space for the children, and improved parking. The money also will be used to attract the best doctors, nurses and specialists to work at the hospital.

Other schools, colleges, and universities that host these types of dance marathons typically plan the event for more than nine months. However, the Cardinal Dance Marathon Team and UIW Mission and Ministry accomplished planning and hosting the dance marathon in less than 70 days. And the team plans to hold more events this year.

Gamez had a special word for this year’s participants.

“Thank you again for supporting the kids. We hope to see you at other events this year.” said Gamez.

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