In the month of December I am excited to be helping families with children with life threatening illness through the Dance Marathon fundraiser at Iowa State. One of my readers, Courtney, reached out to me about this cause and I'm happy to help by donating $0.50 for every comment during the month towards Dance Marathon.
Let's hear more from Courtney on Dance Marathon:
This month’s Comments for a Cause truly shows the power of networking through 4-H. I first met Val when she was the President of my 4-H Club when I joined 4-H in fourth grade. Since then, I have continued to follow her blog on Facebook and Pinterest. That is when I first found out about her Comments for a Cause she does on her blog. I approached Val about doing Comments for a Cause for Dance Marathon, an organization near and dear to my heart since I started school at Iowa State, and she graciously agreed.
Dance Marathon is neither a dance nor a marathon; it is a celebration of life. (It’s also a fundraiser.) Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropy on Iowa State’s campus, helping children with life threatening illnesses for 18 years, giving financial and emotional support to hundreds of families across Iowa. All money raised through the event is given directly to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network. This year’s Dance Marathon at Iowa State is January 23rd and 24th.
I first got involved with Dance Marathon my freshman year in college, participating as a dancer. I fell in love with the organization and have been a member of the Families Committee for the last three years. As a member of the Families Committee, I get assigned a family and serve as their contact. I have been partnered with the Graber family since they first joined Dance Marathon three years ago. This is a picture of me with the Graber family at last year’s Dance Marathon.
The Grabers are a member of Dance Marathon because they have a Miracle Kiddo named Gabe. To be “eligible” for Dance Marathon, a family has to have received care from a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. In Iowa, that is the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Gabe is an energetic 4th grade boy who loves to read books, tell jokes, and cheer on the Cyclones. Before he was born, he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Gabe’s right ventricle never fully developed, so he only has 1 pumping chamber in his heart. This defect is corrected with a series of 3 open heart surgeries—one at birth, one at 6 months old & one between 2-5 years old. Gabe had surgery at 6 months old and 2 ½ years old. He recovered well except for a stroke paralyzing his left side. He has fully recovered from the stroke but has weekly physical and occupational therapy due to significant delay in his fine motor skills with his left hand and foot. He sees a cardiologist once a year.
Some services that Iowa State Dance Marathon has helped fund at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital include:
- Library materials (If you ever are at the hospital, you will notice the library is painted teal, Iowa State Dance Marathon’s color, to honor our donation.)
- Patient support “comfort kits”–parking and food vouchers for family members during extended stays
- Music therapy equipment
- Infant CPR training kits
- Surgery teaching model
- Diversion tools
- Zaky positioning tool in NICU–a parental simulation tool to stimulate development in premature infants
- Video laryngoscope for PICU
- MRI vision distraction tools
- Continual improvement in recreational therapy
Thanks to the generous support so far, Iowa State Dance Marathon has made a 1 MILLION DOLLAR pledge toward the brand new, state-of-the-art Children’s Hospital opening in 2016 in Iowa City. This picture below shows the hospital when I visited one year ago. Click here to see the progress that has been made!
Some Make-A-Miracles, similar to Make-A-Wish, I have help organize these past three years:
- Matthew was the puck and stick boy at an Iowa State Hockey Game.
- Gabe had a Captain Underpants party and Dav Pilkey sent him autographed copies of his Captain Underpants series!
- Cy surprised Will for his 4th birthday party!
If you would like to make a personal donation, feel free to donate here to help make miracles happen. For more information about Iowa State’s Dance Marathon, check out their website.
Have you ever participated in Dance Marathon or have a Dance Marathon story you'd like to share? Remember to Comment for a Cause!