By Katie Volpentesta —
On Nov. 21, RaiseRED concluded their annual “Week of $20k,” a week full of virtual events to encourage fundraising and registration for the 2021 raiseRED Dance Marathon. The members of raiseRED’s executive board revealed via social media that dancers and committee members had surpassed this goal, raising $26,591.47.
RaiseRED is a year long fundraising effort that culminates in an 18-hour dance marathon, with all proceeds benefiting the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute and the U of L Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology. In raiseRED’s five year history at U of L, over 3 million dollars has been raised for pediatric cancer and blood disease patient care and research.
While nothing is set in stone regarding the layout of the 2021 dance marathon, which takes place on February 26, raiseRED is working harder than ever to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer and blood disease.
During the last week, raiseRED organized a blood drive in the Red Barn, a virtual Family Feud event, a virtual talent show and a virtual 1.8 mile run.
In previous years, raiseRED was able to get the attention of new dancers during in-person events and tabling around campus, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events and outreach have been moved online.
“[We were] trying to make these events still engaging,” Benny Gerdes, raiseRED’s internal projects coordinator, said. “With the talent show, we wanted to make sure it was concise and appealing, and with facilitating the Family Feud groups, we had to make sure sure everyone was on board virtually since we had so many games going on at once.”
While the move to virtual events this week came with challenges, there were silver linings.
“I got a chance to watch alongside a bunch of people and talk in the GroupMe,” said Trey Breen, raiseRED’s analytics coordinator. “We also invited cardinal buddies—there was an opportunity for the kids that we support to watch and feel like they’re a part of the organization as well, and it’s fun for the kids to interact with the students.”
Even with all of the uncertainty surrounding February’s marathon, raiseRED’s executive board and committee looks forward to working alongside the dancers to raise as much money as possible and strengthen the community of support for the kids.
“I think what I look forward to the most is the sense of community again. I think everyone kind of needs a win during this pandemic and year,” Breen said.
To keep up with raiseRED or to learn more about registering and fundraising, follow @raisered_uofl on Instagram and Twitter.
Photo by Katie Volpentesta // The Louisville Cardinal