San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Annual Dance Marathon event raises over $200,000 for kids at Rady Children’s Hospital

Students, alumni, sponsors and school organizations joined forces in raising funds at one of the biggest philanthropic events at SDSU
Photo by Kelly Cutler
Dance Marathon participants groove on the dance floor in the late hours of the event.

On Feb. 25, Dance Marathon was proud to announce that it had raised a total of $244,261 for its annual philanthropic event. 

The 18-hour-long fundraiser raised money towards the Rady Children’s Hospital inside the chambers of Montezuma Hall at San Diego State University.

Donations contributed to funding critical treatments, healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care, according to Rady’s.

“Not only is it adding so much to my life, I feel like I get to add so much to other people’s lives which is the most amazing feeling, and I have fun while doing it,” said Olivia Chandra, Dance Marathon’s director of public relations, sophomore and political science major.

Dance Marathon’s year-long fundraiser was completed with stories from families that were at the hospital, morale dances, DJs, games, a photo booth, merchandise, live music, food and a raffle during their annual celebration beginning on the evening of Feb. 24. 

Those who raised $35 were granted admission to participate in the big main event, and the Dance Marathon team provided a shirt for those who were able to raise $123 this year.

In this student-run occasion, the executive board of Dance Marathon kicked off the opening ceremony with a flash mob to raise morale for attendees. 

Kiara Proctor, Rady Children’s Hospital associate director of philanthropy, took the stage following the flash mob and told listeners about her first experience with the Dance Marathon. 

Proctor explained that she was a SDSU alumna and had dedicated herself to stay for the whole event her first time as a student. She has since dedicated herself every day to fight for the kids in her current career. 

“We are all here for this cause that’s much bigger than us, but also for the kiddos that are much smaller than us,” Proctor said. “For the kids that are facing injuries or illnesses at Rady Children’s, seconds can feel like hours and 18 hours might feel like a lifetime.” 

Shortly after, a “kiddo red carpet” was featured to introduce the kids having come from Rady Children’s Hospital. 

One of the children featured at the event was this year’s “Rady Rockstar” named Kaelin. Kaelin is a 12-year-old boy who grew up with eczema, a skin condition that at times would inhibit his ability to walk, run or play sports.

Kaelin was included in the year-long process of raising funds alongside the board members. He was able to help table with them and encourage people to become excited about the big event of the year this February.

Being a sports fan, the Dance Marathon team had Kaelin design his own basketball jersey to be featured in their merchandise stand that went up for purchase for $45, contributing donations to Rady’s.

Another unique feature to this year’s merchandise stand was a new addition called “Catalina’s Craft Corner,” headed by 9-year-old Catalina Robinson, sister of the original Rady Rockstar, Gideon Robinson. 

Catalina worked for over a year sculpting and creating a multitude of works made from clay with a 3-D pen and other mediums. Attendees could claim a piece of artwork based on whatever donation they wanted to give Catalina for her small pieces of art.

Gideon said, “goodbye chemo” when he took his last dose of chemotherapy on stage at Dance Marathon’s 2019 event. 

The Robinson family has been attending the annual event for more than seven years and look forward to being integrated with the supportive community Dance Marathon creates each year. 

Another featured highlight of the night was the announcement of the “Madison Georgine Taylor” award that began at midnight. Madi Taylor lost her life to cancer on Oct. 15, 2017, so Dance Marathon honors Taylor annually with an award in her name. 

This award served to embrace participants for embodying the same “joy, resilience and courage” that Taylor embodied every day according to the Dance Marathon. This year, the Delta Gamma sorority team captains, Riley Bellomo and Kelsey Shea were honored with the award.

Taylor’s story was not the only one told, every hour other families would tell their stories. Everyone attending the event would take a seat on the dance floor to hear the impact the event had on an individual and their family. 

“The most moving thing is hearing people’s stories. Having an impact on that I think is really moving to me,” said Noah Davis, a senior studying integrated marketing communications and a Delta Upsilon member. 

Delta Upsilon has been the top Interfraternity Council team to donate for the past eight years according to SDSU’s Dance Marathon. 

This year, the Delta Gamma sorority raised $8,349 for the cause and other major donors included sponsors like Love’s, who donated $7,500 to put on the event and Cal Coast Credit Union who presented a $5,000 check at the main event.

Participants could celebrate donations by ringing a bell, similar to the bell rung when children finish their treatment at Rady’s, on stage for every $50 gained.

To learn more about the event or to donate go to the SDSU Dance Marathon website, or check out their Instagram page @dmatsdsu for more information.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Annual Dance Marathon event raises over $200,000 for kids at Rady Children’s Hospital