The University of Maine Miracle Network Dance Marathon will be held on Feb. 27 of next year to raise money for Eastern Maine Medical Center, the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
This year the event staff aim to focus on what it means to be part of the movement. The goal is to raise more than $100,000 for the event, formerly known as Bearfest, which is now in its fifth year.
The money raised will go to Eastern Maine Medical Center’s new neonatal intensive care unit, which is opening a month after the marathon. The new unit will be the first home for a premature babies, who may stay there anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Fourth-year kinesiology student Cassandra Krummel and fourth-year mechanical engineering student Devon Biggie, co-chairs of the event, emphasized how excited they are to be coordinating an event with such an impact on the community.
“We truly are part of something bigger than ourselves, and knowing that many of the children who join us are graduates of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s current neonatal intensive care unit is even more inspiring,” Krummel said, speaking for both Biggie and herself.
At the Dance Marathon there will be dancing, games and activities for all students. In the past, every dancer has had the opportunity to meet the children who benefit from the money raise, a tradition that will continue this year.
Children supported by the event arrive with joy, since for many this event is the highlight of their year. Their feedback is what fuels the dance marathon participants, according to Krummel.
Krummel and Biggie emphasized their goal is to host an event where everyone feels welcome and excited.
“The University of Maine community is the heart and soul of Dance Marathon. This event would not be possible without the incredible students who register each year, who surprise us with the amount of money they fundraise in support of these children, and they’re why we continue to set the bar high,” Krummel said.
This year Krummel and Biggie also have been encouraging students to help local families by exceeding their fundraising goals.
“It’s amazing how fast it adds up, and every penny makes a huge difference. Asking someone to support a cause that you are apart [sic] of makes all the difference; you are spreading more awareness and you are helping someone make a difference too,” Krummel said.
One of the highlights for the staff is finding out how much money is raised by the end of the night.
The co-chairs stressed that UMaine has the opportunity to come together for a common cause and the marathon is not just dancing for a few hours and leaving.
“Dance Marathon is standing for those who can’t for 12 hours. It’s fundraising to transform tomorrow to today for some incredible children and their families. It allows all of us to be apart of something bigger than ourselves,” Krummel said.
Anyone interested in finding out more information or signing up can go on their event website, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.