For the Kids: A Dance Marathon Reflection by Ryan Engesser ’15

At the beginning of November, nearly 8 months of planning and coordination culminated itself for the St. Norbert College Dance Marathon organization. They put on the first ever Dance Marathon event at St. Norbert College, a 13.1 hour celebration. The day was comprised of dancing, activities, and speakers. The ultimate goal behind everything was raising money for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Between the organization and the 300+ participants, $21,372.01 was raised!

To learn more about the event itself, read our previous blog Dance for a Chance & IgKnight Hope – Dance Marathon 2013!

Below is a reflection of the event by Dance Marathon Co-President, Ryan Engesser ‘15.

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One of the most powerful moments of the event was when all of the participants got together and performed the morale dance. Seeing over 200 students come together and perform the same dance to keep each others’ energy up was amazing. At the end of the dance everyone said the same chant:

SNC, what do we say?
Believe in miracles everyday!
For the Kids, that’s why we dance,
13 hours to give them a chance.
SNC DM
SNC DM
SNC DM
FOR THE KIDS!

I got chills every single time. Everyone was yelling it at the top of their lungs and you could really feel the genuine emotion from everyone in the gym.

My favorite moment of the entire event was the closing ceremony, specifically during the thank you circle. At the beginning of the day, each dancer was given a hospital bracelet from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. They may not have known what it was for, but during the thank you circle everything made sense. During this ceremony, the DM team went dancer-to-dancer thanking each one of them for attending and staying on their feet for the entire 13.1 hours. As they were thanked, Nicole Haupert (DM Co-President), explained that when the dancers were given these bracelets at the beginning of the event, it was a metaphor for taking on the burden that each one of our miracle children live with on a daily basis. To conclude the event, the co-presidents went to each dancer and cut their hospital bracelet off. This symbolized that the dancers-through their fundraising efforts and interactions with our miracle children-have provided relief to the children of the hospital. There were more tears shed during these 10 minutes than the entire event combined. I cannot explain the emotion I felt as I went to each dancer, looked them in the eye, and thanked them for joining me in this experience. My whole body was numb. I don’t think I have ever felt more full and complete in my entire life. Everything just came together. One circle…one cause…and the power of one community’s effort, sweat, and tears… all joining hands in one amazing moment that wrapped up 13.1 hours of fighting…For the Kids.

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“A moment I will never forget.” – A Dance Marathon Reflection by Maira Rodriguez ’14

On November 2nd, over 200 St. Norbert College students gathered together for the first annual Dance Marathon event, a daylong fundraising celebration. To learn more about the event itself, read our previous blog Dance for a Chance & IgKnight Hope – Dance Marathon 2013!

After much hard work, the results from Dance Marathon (DM) are in:

  • 223 students participated in the day’s activities!
  • 9 families (who had or have children being treated at the hospital) attended the event!
  • $21,372.01 was raised! This will be donated directly to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. (The fundraising goal was $20,000!)
  • Everyone stayed on their feet for 13.1 hours!

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Below is a reflection of the event by Dance Marathon member and event participant, Maira Rodriguez ‘14.

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From the moment I stepped into Schuldes Sports Center for Dance Marathon, I got chills. Seeing countless children running around and dancing all day long created an overwhelming atmosphere of joy for everyone and there was not one second of the 13.1 hours that I did not have a smile on my face. Not only were the children having a blast, but their families were too! I’ll admit that my feet were definitely hurting as we got a few hours in, but not once did I consider sitting down. I was constantly thinking about the children for whom I was standing and dancing for. Hearing stories from families was an additional motivator that kept me determined to remain standing. These families were willing to open up to a group of college students, share their memories and experiences, and become completely vulnerable to more than 200 strangers. Each time a family spoke, I could not help but shed a tear. Every single family had a powerful journey full of challenges they had the strength to overcome. Hearing their stories was a truly inspirational and humbling experience.

Pearce
Pearce

There was one boy who really touched my heart. His name was Pearce. Pearce’s family was the last family to share their story with us. When Pearce’s family came up and talked about him, his dad mentioned the scars Pearce had on his chest. To Pearce, these scars were known as “battle scars.” His dad shared that Pearce gets really excited when their family shares the story related to his “battle scars” because Pearce feels a sense of bravery for what he accomplished. Pearce was determined to show us his “battle scars”, but his dad urged him to wait until a later time. Upon hearing those words, he became upset and started to cry. His dad, realizing how meaningful this experience would be for his son, immediately changed his mind. With a face of enthusiasm, Pearce lifted up his shirt and showed us his “battle scars.” At that moment, my heart just melted. He was so vulnerable in showing them to us. I could not help but cry and smile at the same time. The stage was his and our hearts connected to this little boy and to his story. As the family went off the stage, I went up to Pearce and gave him a huge hug and all he could do was smile. That was a moment I will never forget.

 As a senior, I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of the first St. Norbert College Dance Marathon. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this organization. For as incredible as this year was, I know it can only get better from here.

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FOR THE KIDS!