Written by Liz Groth
Last year, Dance Marathon made a huge splash on the St. Norbert College campus by raising $21,372 to donate to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The passion and dedication of both the dancers and the participants at the event was astonishing, but their hard work didn’t stop after last year’s event was over. Almost immediately, the members of St. Norbert’s Dance Marathon started putting together this year’s event. The hours of planning, preparing, and fundraising paid off as the event proved to be a huge success with hundreds of students participating. In the span of one year, Dance Marathon increased the donations they received by 62%, earning $34,652 for Children’s Miracle Network. I had the opportunity to speak with two dedicated Dance Marathon members, Lydia Dorn and Mary Sobczak, about how Dance Marathon has impacted them and why they choose to dance for 13.1 hours each year.
Both of the women decided to join Dance Marathon when they realized how influential the organization was. For Entertainment Committee Co-Chair, Lydia Dorn, last year’s Dance Marathon event “sparked a fire” in her and inspired her to plan future events that would help benefit Miracle Children. Likewise, Sponsorship & Fundraising Co-Chair, Mary Sobczak, got involved with the organization early on during her freshman year, saying “I saw what a huge impact Dance Marathon had on the campus and I wanted to be able to take part in the movement.”
The passion and dedication these women have for Dance Marathon is undeniable. Ask either of them about the organization, and they will happily talk to you for hours about the wonderful experiences they’ve had and the impact they hope to create. When asked why they choose to dance for 13.1 hours every year at St. Norbert College’s Dance Marathon event, Lydia explained “I dance for 13.1 hours for all of those children who cannot. I dance for 13.1 hours for the kids that are fighting and the kids that have lost their fights. I dance for family and friends who are sick in some way and for those I have lost to cancer or another disease. I dance for the families who we see every year whose children have been saved by the Children’s Miracle Network and who are happy and healthy. I dance to see the total fundraising amount revealed at the end of each event and know that every single dollar will go towards healing, physically and emotionally, sick kids and their families.”
Mary goes on to share her personal experience with Children’s Miracle Network. “This cause hits home for me. When I was in middle school I was a miracle child. The Children’s Miracle Network gave me my life back a few years ago, and now I dance to give back to the people who gave me so much. Seeing all the young miracle children at the event smiling and dancing with a bunch of college students is reason enough.”
Before the event took place, Mary’s main job was to fundraise throughout the year and seek out community sponsors, whereas Lydia’s work mostly involved planning the details of the actual event and figuring out what programs would be included each hour.
Lydia explained, “Being on the committee and especially the executive board showed me how much work goes into the actual event. Seeing the event happen and everything play out as we planned is so validating. Just stopping and looking around and seeing that what we are doing makes a difference and that everyone’s hard work goes into financially and emotionally supporting Children’s Miracle Network is amazing.” Originally, the members of St. Norbert’s Dance Marathon set a $30,000 fundraising goal for themselves. Seeing that goal be not only reached, but well surpassed was an incredibly meaningful moment for all of the dancers and participants. Reflecting on this, Mary said, “It brought me to my knees and started another round of joyful tears. It meant we had done it.”
Although the Dance Marathon members are taking a few weeks to decompress and take a well deserved break after the success of this year’s event, the group can’t seem to stay still for long. Elections for next year’s executive board are already just around the corner and future events and fundraising goals seem to be on everyone’s mind. If you’re interested in learning more about Dance Marathon, visit the organization’s website. Contact information for St. Norbert’s chapter of Dance Marathon can also be found by clicking here.