By Brooke Moody & Danielle Schretzman–
In its ninth year of fundraising, raiseRED is hosting its annual dance marathon Feb. 26 through Feb. 27 to commemorate the past year of fundraising.
RaiseRED goes beyond an 18 hour dance party. For many involved, it’s a passion.
“RaiseRED has introduced me to so many passionate individuals who constantly remind me that saving lives is possible, that a cure can be found and that giving up is not an option,” said Katie Maurer, a member of the morale committee.
This student-run organization works year round to support clinical and medical research of pediatric cancer as well as the children, families and doctors fighting the disease. The total amount raised each year is announced at the end of the dance marathon. Last year, over $226,000 was raised by 700 students.
“It’s amazing to watch so many college students, a demographic often deemed apathetic and uninspired, come together to create a positive change in the community and in the lives of kids,” Maurer said.
This year will mark the third year that raiseRED proceeds benefit the work of Dr. Ken Lucas of the university’s pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplant program.
When asked why she chose to join raiseRED, Maurer said, “Like so many others, I have seen cancer affect the lives of so many people close to me. One of my best friends was diagnosed with Wilms stage four when she was very young. It hugely impacted her childhood and obviously caused unimaginable suffering.
“I got involved in raiseRED so that hopefully in the future, there will be more success stories and fewer lives lost,” Maurer said.
During the dance marathon, students get to meet some of the children they are supporting. After months of fundraising, interacting with the children and hearing their moving stories make the time and energy worth it.
The children who draw in more and more participants each year. Many students have a personal connection to cancer and they see raiseRED as an opportunity to make a change and bring hope to the children.
“Cancer has touched my family many times over the years, but it is particularly heart-breaking when this disease effects the youngest members of a family or a community,” said Danielle Deal, a first time participant. “I know that some day we can live in a world without pediatric cancer, and every dollar that’s donated gets us one step closer to that world.”
Though students can no longer register to be a dancer during the event, there are still ways that students can get involved in the coming weeks as well as the day of the event.
Students are encouraged to donate to raiseRED. This year, the organization’s goal is to raise $300,000. To support the cause students can go to Uofl.useed.net, and then select a team to donate to.
There will also be opportunities to volunteer the night of the event. Students who are not participating are invited to attend community hour at 9 a.m. on Feb. 27 to show support to those who have been dancing all night.
For more information, visit Raisered.org.