The Loras College Dance Marathon continued its incredible support of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital by raising more than $110,000 during its 2020 Dance Marathon event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took a unique turn as the usual format of gathering together on campus with Miracle Families had to be replaced with a virtual gathering.
“The decision to change our event to a virtual event was tough, but we were up for the challenge,” Madison Cline (’20), co-president of the 2020 Loras College Dance Marathon, said. “We still knew we wanted to do something to celebrate the years’ work and our Miracle Kiddos with our DM community. Our University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital rep and Children’s Miracle Network rep helped support and guide us through this challenge. We also saw many other DM’s across the nation host virtual events, which helped us with our decision.”
The new format required a lot of adjustments in a short time. Through numerous online meetings, the discussion centered around making the event fun while remaining focused on kids who were the reason for the Dance Marathon.
“Prior to the event, we reached out to families looking to see if anyone would want to share their story during our event,” Cline explained. “I think this helped us connect and encourage them to join in with us on our big day. We had great engagement from our dancers, families, and even alumni throughout the day. We are so proud of everyone’s hard work and how it turned out!”
The virtual event was met with great enthusiasm as most of the current students, miracle families, and alumni were happy to know it was continuing in some capacity and encouraged others to join in.
According to Cline, the online format had an added benefit. “With it being a virtual event, it was also easier for others to witness what Loras College Dance Marathon does throughout the year and at our big event. Overall, we received such a great response!”
The final amount raised to support the Stead Family Children’s Hospital was $110,576.23. That adds to the more than $2M raised by Loras College Dance Marathon over the past 13 years.
Jamie Engelke (’20), co-president of the 2020 Loras College Dance Marathon, reflected on the overall impact the organization has had on her experience at Loras.
“My DM experience has been amazing. I found a great organization that sparked a passion for giving back and service within me that I want to continue throughout my life. Having different roles within the organization also allowed me to grow as a person and in my skill set. Overall, I am so thankful for this organization. I have met so many wonderful people from Loras students to our Miracle Kiddos. While I am sad we didn’t get to host our main event at Loras this year, it has been an incredible year,” she said.
Cline echoed those sentiments. “It may not have ended like we hoped, celebrating with our miracle families in the ballrooms, but it was great to see everyone still come together. My four years in Dance Marathon has been an amazing experience, and it has truly impacted my life. I am grateful I have had the opportunity to work with such a great organization!”