Thunder Dance Marathon raises awareness of pediatric cancer

Organizers from the Thunder Dance Marathon encouraged students to sign a banner answering the question “What would you do if you were a kid again?” Wednesday in the Memorial Student Center.

Senior public relations major Lara Sedlock said the point of the banner is to make students understand those suffering from pediatric cancer likely do not have the same opportunities the average college student had as a child.

“When we were kids we were able to do all of these things, and they’re spending hours of their week in the hospital getting treatment,” Sedlock said. “These kids can’t jump on the trampoline after school or go swimming every day, and I think it’s little things like that that we take for granted.”

The Thunder Dance Marathon is a 12 hour no sitting, no sleeping charity event that benefits the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, a pediatric cancer research center. According to junior special education major Abby Suffer, the object of the event is for participants to have a similar experience to kids affected by pediatric cancer.

“It’s kind of like us putting ourselves in these kids’ shoes because they deal with cancer every single day of their lives,” Soffera said.

This is the second year the Thunder Dance Marathon will be held and those organizing it hope to top their “extremely successful” first year that brought in over $36,000. According to Suffera, this year is also about getting further name recognition and getting students outside of Greek life involved with the event.

“Last year it was hard getting people to come and join because no one really knew what it was,” Soffera said. “This year we want to get more organizations besides just fraternity and sorority life. We want to make it a campus-wide community event.”

Soffera and Sedlock said the event is not just about dancing and that there are certain activities taking place each hour. According to Sedlock, each hour will have a certain theme. Last year, popular themes were “‘90s,” “Disney” and “yoga.” The organizers plan to incorporate different themes, games and events into this year’s Thunder Dance Marathon.

“We have games and we have breaks for food, but we stand up the whole time,” Soffera said.

The cost to participate in the Thunder Dance Marathon is $125 per person. While students are encouraged to form a team, single person entries are also welcome. Additionally, the event is accepting donations from sponsors on its website.

The Thunder Dance Marathon will be April 1-2 from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. in the Cam Henderson Center.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected].