By Payton Carns

On Feb. 24, the 2024 raiseRED dance marathon raised $516,485.76 for Norton Children’s Cancer Institute and the U of L Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology.

“We are here to fight for those who can’t,” said Programming Director Katie Hayden during the opening ceremonies.


raiseRED Executive Board watches the marathon recap video during community hour. Photo Courtesy // raiseRED Design Team

Notable members of the U of L community, including President Kim Schatzel, women’s basketball head coach Jeff Walz, and Athletic Director Josh Heird celebrated with and echoed messages of support before the total reveal. 

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jeff Walz presents an 11k donation from the UofL Athletic Department. Photo Courtesy // raiseRED Design Team

The 18-hour marathon featured festivities such as laser tag, a dodgeball tournament, and color wars games. The most popular event, according to morale leader Carter Bunch, is the silent disco, which occurred between the hours of 4 and 5 a.m.

“It brings college students together through normal things they would do on the weekend,” Bunch said.

Dancers enjoying the silent disco, a fan-favorite event during the marathon. Photo Courtesy // raiseRED Design Team

Amidst the entertainment was also an acknowledgment of what the organization was there to fight for. Throughout the marathon, several families involved with raiseRED shared their stories about pediatric cancer, including current and former University of Louisville students.

Freshman and raiseRED morale staffer Fawwaz Turkmani, for example, told the story of his battle with osteosarcoma, and the ways he stayed optimistic through his treatment.

“Cancer is really tough, but you gain something positive out of it,” Turkmani said. “You become stronger, and more confident. I feel more comfortable in my skin speaking in front of guys tonight.”

For Bunch, the most meaningful parts of the raiseRED marathon were those in which dancers and staff members alike reflected on their involvement with the organization. He cited the “shine a light” activity, where dancers shared more about their personal experience with cancer by shining their phone light during statements that applied to them.

“Those moments always get me the most emotional, and really show how the cause affects all students that participate,” he said.

Dancers participate in the “shine a light” activity during Angel Hour. Photo Courtesy // raiseRED Design Team

Several RSOs and Greek Life Organizations participate in the event every year. The Indian Student Association was the top fundraising student organization, and Kappa Delta and Sigma Chi were the top fundraising sorority and fraternity, respectively.

raiseRED is currently accepting applications for director positions ahead of the 2025 marathon, which will be open through March 8th. Coordinator applications will open on March 25th. Students can submit their applications through Engage or the raiseRED website.

Photo Courtesy // raiseRED Design Team