As dance marathon season moves into full swing, many people find themselves wondering what makes these events so special. I am here today as a patient and as a Local Donations Director of a major dance marathon. In raising money for the dance marathon, I have heard a variety of different ideas about what these events do, what happens at these events, and why these events are held. I am going to approach this topic from two different sides: the patient side and the Local Donations Director side.
As a patient, I can’t explain the importance of the work of the dancers, moralers, and dance marathon staff. I have seen and experienced firsthand the impact of art and music therapy in reducing pain and other hospital discomforts. Studies have shown that unconventional therapies like art and music therapy reduce the stresses of being in an anxiety-provoking environment, lower blood pressures and heart rates, and show that patients require less pain medication. Here’s the catch. For most hospitals, money is not set aside for these important services. This is where the funds raised from the dance marathons comes in.
Ironically, here’s where the lines blur. This year for our Push Day, we had a goal of raising $10,000 in 24 hours for our local children’s hospital. This was THE day to go canning, ask for donations from family and friends, and recruit new dancers. I am proud to say that we smashed through that $10,000 goal in about six hours. By the time, we finished I think we finished well over $18,000 all for our local children’s hospital. And where was I in all this you may ask? Lying in a bed being poked, prodded, and pumped full of potent medications all while awaiting two procedures to insert catheters in my spine. Not the push day I imagined.
However, because of my position as one of the directors, I was running my Push Day operations from my hospital bed around procedures, medications, and blood draws. Those that know me would not be surprised and probably laugh, while those that don’t know me would probably think I was downright nuts. But that is just me being me.
The dance marathon is just that; a marathon of singing, dancing, playing games, interacting with patient families and listening to their remarkable stories. It all leads up to the final reveal at the end of the event, which is many peoples’ favorite part. Everyone enjoys seeing the fruits of all the efforts.
On the dance marathon committee side of things, I know the stresses of managing yet another email account, making sure everyone knows what they are contributing, delegating the tasks I need assistance with, making sure to make all the meetings vital to the success of our organization a priority even if I am feeling less than my best. As the dance marathon approaches, the pressure to meet the fundraising goal rises, meetings become more frequent, and sleep is lost over preparations. But for all the reasons I have listed above, it makes everything completely worth it and it has been the highlight of my year working with my amazing group of board members that have become friends. And the very best part? We give children the chance to return to their normal lives and what could possibly be more satisfying than that?