By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Just a minute before midnight April 22, students and supporters of the St. Ambrose University Dance Marathon awaited the “big reveal” of fundraising efforts for the annual event that benefits the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City.
They got the news inside the university’s Wellness and Recreation Center. Students raised $211,068.11, which will go toward the hospital’s general nursing fund, said Lily Roth, public relations and marketing director for St. Ambrose Dance Marathon – the largest student-run philanthropic organization on campus. This year’s dance marathon was the 11th that the university has hosted. Nationally, dance marathons benefit the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, such as the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
“We raise money through event fundraisers, push days, canning and participant fundraising,” Roth said. “Some of our events include our annual gala, food night givebacks with local restaurants and our annual ice skating event. We have one push day each semester where we try to raise as much money as possible in one day.” Students also go door to door to collect free-will donations, referred to as “canning.”
Five Quad-City area high schools also raised money to donate to St. Ambrose Dance Marathon. Davenport North and the Illinois schools of Alleman in Rock Island, Erie, Geneseo and Rock Island collected a combined total of $70,153.74 this year.
Dance marathon organizers offered 13.1 hours of activities for participants, families and volunteers, culminating with the big reveal on April 22. Activities included a carnival and yard games, therapy dogs, face painting, magician performance, dancing, game show and prizes.
“We have 51 families with children who have been or are currently being treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital that we support year after year,” Roth said.