As Saint Mary’s prepares for its Dance Marathon on March 23, members of the planning committee will host a week of events to involve students in the cause. Executive fundraising chair and senior Alex Munsey said Riley Week aims to raise awareness of the Marathon, which benefits the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and has a “Rock of Ages” theme this year. Senior Meghan Cronin, a member of the fundraising committee, said the group has been planning Riley Week since November. “Everything from decorating to catering and T-shirt ideas has been bounced around in our meetings,” Cronin said. Students can contribute to the Dance Marathon by decorating records in the Student Center on Monday. The records will feature positive messages for the dancers and dedications to those served by Riley. They will hang in Angela Athletic Facility during the Dance Marathon. Munsey said an instructor from Tu Sei Bella Dance Fitness Studio will teach a Zumba class Tuesday in Angela. “It fits in with the overall theme of Dance Marathon,” Munsey said. “We do a morale dance. It’s like a fun way to tie all that in together, dancing and Zumba.” Wednesday will be Let’s Spoon Give Back Night, Munsey said. Twenty percent of each purchase made with a Riley Week coupon will go to the Dance Marathon, according to the event’s Facebook page. The Dance Marathon committee will also hold tryouts for the event’s master of ceremonies from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Vander-Vennet Theater in the Student Center, Munsey said. “We’re looking for someone who is upbeat and funny [and who will] encourage people to stay on their feet,” she said. The Dance Marathon will decorate vases to spread awareness of the event and generate interest Thursday in Reignbeaux Lounge in LeMans Hall. The week closes with coffee and doughnuts donated by Sodexo and Dunkin’ Donuts in Spes Unica Hall. There, Dance Marathon committee will discuss its “no zero-zero” policy, which encourages students to raise a least $1 for the cause. “It makes people accountable … and helps dancers to feel like they’re a part of the marathon and that they have helped out in some way,” Munsey said. Cronin said students can contribute to the Dance Marathon by registering as a dancer next week in the Student Center. She said this is the last week to register and get a T-shirt for the event. Students can also drop change in containers around South Bend. “Riley Week is a fun way to get connected with other students all while supporting a good cause,” Cronin said. The Dance Marathon is more than just a fundraiser for Munsey. She said the cause is personal because her friend received treatment from Riley. “I fell in the love with the place because of the doctors and nurses,” she said. “They didn’t treat him just like a patient, but like a real person. They went above and beyond to show him kindness.” Cronin said she became involved with the Dance Marathon after she heard stories of people who benefited from Riley’s services. She said she was moved by their motivation to beat their illnesses. “Their happiness was so genuine and their appreciation for the marathon was extremely heart warming,” Cronin said. “I felt obligated to help. Hospital expenses are astronomical and are only increasing. Every person has a right to fight for their life, and money should not be a hindrance.”
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