Creighton students stayed on their feet for 12 hours straight to raise funds for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.

On Saturday, Dance Marathon raised $52,178.90 in donations that will stay local to fund critical treatments, health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care for children at Children’s Hospital.

The fifth annual Dance Marathon was a celebration of the program’s year-long fundraising efforts. Participants were able to partake in activities sponsored by the Inter-Fraternity and Panhellenic Councils, including games, crafts, food, entertainment and dancing.

As detailed on its website, Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America, ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Sam Miller, vice president of programming at Inter Fraternity Council and Heider College of Business junior, believes that the event is important not only because it is Creighton’s biggest fundraising event, but because it is an amazing cause.

“It gives kids in the hospital hope and lets them know that they not only have support from their families and doctors, but also from people who don’t know them but still care” says Miller.

Throughout the half-day event, Miracle families shared their stories, and students were able to meet patient families treated at their local hospital.

Delta Zeta members Donna Shahbazi, Kailey Bell, Nicole Blanck and Gerimi Sarmiento said that they really enjoyed being able to get to know their Miracle child, Carly.

“The event gains more and more meaning as the years go by because we get to see her again and continue building that relationship. We get to know her personally and want to be there for her,” said Blanck, a Heider College of Business senior.

“Seeing her each year motivates us to keep fundraising and creating awareness for children in situations similar to hers. Additionally, some of the speakers at Dance Marathon are doctors and nurses that work with these kids and they give premed and nursing students a glimpse of what they could be to other people,” said Shahbazi, a College of Arts and Sciences senior. “It reminds them of the reason they are working so hard in school - to support and save the lives of patients like these children.”

Jillian Brauninger, Dance Marathon Operations Executive and College of Arts and Sciences junior, said she especially feels a connection with the children of the Miracle Children Network.

She was born 10 weeks premature, and her NICU benefitted from money raised at Dance Marathons and other fundraising events.

“So in a greater way, I’m a part of the previous generation of Dance Marathon and Miracle Children, and I want to give back to that cause. All kids deserve a chance at a normal life,” Brauninger said.

While the goal for this year’s dance marathon was $90,000, the main focus continued to be what it always has been: FTK (For the Kids).

Denise Torres, Dance Marathon Finance Executive and College of Arts and Sciences junior, emphasized that Dance Marathon focuses on the families.

“Each year we try to improve the experience through catering activities to the Miracle Children and getting to know each family better so we can incorporate the things that they like doing,” said Torres.

As Brauninger noted, the program board found inspiration in the phrase: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.”

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