By: Laura Leininger
Every 90 seconds, a child is admitted to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, a statistic that ignited a fire for some students at Boise State. For six years now, a “Krew” of Boise State students have held an annual fundraiser to raise money for this cause. On Feb. 23, this group and many others will come together for a 17-hour Dance Marathon.
When the fundraiser started six years ago, the Boise State community was able to raise $5,000 for St. Luke’s Children’s hospital. This year, Boise State’s Dance Marathon, now the largest one west of the Mississippi, is aiming to raise $190,000.
For the co-director of media relations Kennedy Kaya, the cause means everything.
“I am currently in the Boise State School of Nursing hoping to have a career in pediatrics,” Kaya said. “Working with kids is everything I want in life, and Dance Marathon allows me to do just that. I am a healthy individual and I dance for those who can’t.”
The Marathon is dependent on the support of the community to be successful. A number of local sponsors like Chick-fil-A and Panda Express donate food for the day of the event and host fundraisers. Haley Olivas, a community fundraising co-chair explained they rely on businesses all year long to host events, although the final weeks are definitely crunch time.
“We like to cram as much as we can into the last month,” Olivas said.
Throughout the year, the Krew relies on a “thermometer,” or drawing that shows how much money has been raised, to track their progress, but in the last month that thermometer is taken away, which causes a push for lots of fundraising, just to be safe.
“We always find a way to make it work,” Olivas said, but she emphasized the important role teamwork plays in the final month. “I couldn’t do it by myself.”
The marathon, which follows the slogan “For the Kids” through everything they do, has grown into a way for Boise State students to have fun and give back to the community. Though the title may seem daunting, the 17-hour event consists of not only dancing, but games, activities and a chance to meet with the families and kids directly involved in the cause.
Marcus Ross, who is now the Dance Marathon co-president, first attended the event as a freshman, where he was intrigued by not only the cause but the passion of everyone involved. Now, Ross is head over heels with Dance Marathon.
The final month of planning consists of constant meetings and a lot of logistical work, but for Ross, it’s a time of remembering why they do what they do.
“We have to promote; we have to push,” Ross said. “We’re always thinking about our goal and how we can raise more money for the kids.”
Between the sponsors, the Dance Marathon executive team and Krew and the dancers, Ross said whatever good the event creates, the credit goes to the Boise State community as a whole.
“We 100 percent can’t do it without them,” Ross said of everyone involved in the process. “There are a lot of good people out there.”
Students can register for Dance Marathon online up until the day of the event.