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

Tenth annual Dance Marathon raises over $200,000

Uniting SDSU and beyond, this annual event exemplifies student and community dedication to making a difference in the lives of children at Rady Children’s Hospital
Ryan Kehl
Senior executive board members at Dance Marathon at SDSU’s ‘Main Event’ reveal the fundraising total of $203,412.10 at Montezuma Hall on February 24. The announcement celebrates the successful fundraising for Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego

Within Montezuma Hall on Feb. 24, Dance Marathon, a student-led philanthropy effort for Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, spanned from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

The 10th annual “Main Event” transcended mere dance, marking the pinnacle of a year-long initiative to bolster the hospital’s lifeline to countless children and families.

Activities throughout the day, including a dance session led by the San Diego State Police Department, an early bird raffle for Disneyland tickets and a Rockstar Energy drink station with complimentary beverages and charging stations, which added layers of excitement.

Merch tables offered attendees a chance to support the cause further, while the “Kiddo Red Carpet” and talent show events spotlighted the children and families at the heart of the Dance Marathon’s mission. 

The highlight of the night came at 10 p.m., revealing a fundraising total of $203,412.10. This milestone underscored the significant impact of the student-run organization’s efforts, reinforcing its role in supporting the vital work of Rady Children’s Hospital.

This accomplishment contributes to over $2.4 million amassed since the marathon’s inception, underscoring the major financial support

Alexys Cruz, left, and Maxwell Lee, right, Directors of Corporate Partners for Dance Marathon at SDSU, with Rockstar Energy Ambassadors, present a $5,000 check at Montezuma Hall on February 24. The donation bolsters the support for Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

provided by the SDSU community to pediatric healthcare.

The ambiance in Montezuma Hall mirrored the university’s vibrant community spirit, with Malia Preisendorf, the executive director of Dance Marathon and a fourth-year public health major, emphasizing the significance of uniting for a meaningful cause.

“It means everything, it’s truly the best feeling in the world,” Preisendorf said. “It’s amazing seeing people care about something so much bigger than themselves, it’s fulfilling and heartwarming to see a whole bunch of people on the SDSU campus come together and support people that they won’t even really meet.”

Preisendorf also shared insights on the significance of the fundraising total’s reveal.

“I feel amazing. I am super, super grateful for the people I worked with this year and our board this year,” Preisendorf said. “We made a lot of changes with it being the 10th year and we have a pretty young board so a lot of those people will be returning back to the board hopefully next year.”

The event not only showcases SDSU’s vibrant spirit but also fosters community engagement, drawing together students, alumni and supporters in a united effort to support a worthy cause.

Guided by a fresh board, Dance Marathon highlights both fundraising achievements and personal contributions. At the heart of this effort is the Madison Georgine Taylor Award, which is presented yearly to someone reflecting Taylor’s extraordinary spirit. 

Taylor, who battled cancer at Rady Children’s Hospital, remains a source of inspiration through her legacy of joy, resilience and courage — even after her passing away in 2017 at age 14, according to Dance Marathon’s website.

This year’s awardee, Grace Gosnell, the Pi Beta Phi team captain and a second-year child and family development major, expressed her gratitude upon receiving the award at this year’s event. 

“It meant everything to me,” Gosnell said. “I worked really hard this year with my team, and we’re at $9,000 right now, which is a record for Pi Beta Phi.”

Chelsey Crowne, Cause Partnerships Manager for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, speaks during the ‘Main Event’ of Dance Marathon at SDSU in Montezuma Hall on February 24. Crowne details ‘Family Story #6,’ a story about the community’s impact on families supported by Rady Children’s Hospital

This year’s Dance Marathon’s community vibe was enhanced by the return of SDSU alum Kenna Torres and John Karczewski, who hosted the kids’ art auction and shared their experiences, emphasizing the event’s wide appeal.

“The sense of community involvement created over my four years with Dance Marathon is incredible,” Karczewski said. “And it’s hard not to be moved by the kids fighting for their lives in the hospital, it compels you to be part of this movement and return every year.”

Torres shared insights on Dance Marathon on being more than just a dance club, focusing on its foundation in community and support.

“I encourage everyone to learn more, (and) join us at tabling events on campus,” Torres said. “It’s a chance to connect with people, hear powerful stories and make a tangible difference.”

Stories of resilience from children and families who benefited from Rady Children’s Hospital highlighted the Dance Marathon’s impact throughout the event and into the night. 

Shared across the venue, these narratives emphasized the tangible difference the SDSU community’s collective efforts had made.

For more information on how to get involved with Dance Marathon at SDSU, visit their website. To keep up with the year-long events, visit their Instagram.

About the Contributor
Ryan Kehl, Staff Writer
Raised in North Philadelphia, Ryan is a senior majoring in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. He recently completed a copywriting internship at Motive and served as vice president of public affairs on the Professional Studies and Fine Arts College Council. His interests include "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Meek Mill, "Rocky," and "Elden Ring," along with cheesesteak egg rolls and soft pretzels.