Dance Marathon fosters community between MSU and children's hospital

Photographed: Braxton Warren, Katelyn Skelton, Breelyn Davenport, Ari Collazo and JJ Olguin.

The campus wide fundraising movement Dance Marathon, also known as State DM, strives to make the world a better place through its philanthropy and awareness education.

In previous years, the club hosted an annual spring event called Dance Marathon. The event brings MSU students and families of patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, together to have fun, raise money and spread awareness.

This year, the club has decided to take a different approach and host various events throughout the year to get its name and cause broadcast among MSU students.

Breelyn Davenport, a senior anthropology major and Dance Marathon president, describes herself as "the glue that holds everybody together." Davenport said she wanted to inform the campus of the many opportunities available through Dance Marathon and the wide range of member duties, such as teaching a dance class and fundraising.

"If you want to get involved, there are different aspects, and we can find something that you’re interested in," Davenport said.

While Dance Marathon raises money for children and families at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, the club ultimately raises awareness and forms deep connections between the university and families.

Davenport said the club continues to inspire her because of her commitment to the cause.

"It has made me realize I don’t need to take anything for granted," Davenport said. "Taking in small moments and realizing those moments mean 1,000 words."

On Oct. 3, State DM hosted a Child Health Day Carnival in the Junction. Lucy Mellen, a sophomore geoscience major, attended the event with a few friends. Even though she is not a part of Dance Marathon, Mellen said she thinks the club's cause is meaningful.

"It gets the club more involved with people and draws attention of the campus to participate of charity events made fun," Mellen said.

Hartley Charlton, a junior psychology major, has been involved with Dance Marathon for the past three years. Charlton not only believes in the cause Dance Marathon stands for but has experienced it firsthand.

At a young age, Charlton was a patient at Le Bonheur. She said she made it through that experience with the help of hospital staff and various organizations, like Dance Marathon.

"Families shouldn’t have to pay for their child that they’re worrying about. I get to see how it really helps the community and see the impact that you have on people," Charlton said.

Davenport said she hopes the group’s efforts this semester have raised awareness, interest and encouragement in the club.

"Any help we could get is welcome. Become aware and get to know us because we would love to share," Davenport said.

Dance Marathon’s community events will continue Nov. 13 with Bully’s Turkey Trot, a 5K and one mile fun run around Chadwick Lake. The registration fee will cost $5 with all proceeds going to Le Bonheur. 

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