The 14th annual Dance Marathon � held at the University of South Dakota this weekend � promises to be the most successful yet.
�Right now, we have more people registered for Dance Marathon than we�ve had in the past 14 years,� said USD senior Dzenan Berberovic, overall chairman of Dance Marathon. �We don�t disclose that exact number, but last year we raised $38,000 that all went to Children�s Miracle Network. So we�re definitely looking to exceed that and raise more funds and awareness than we�ve ever raised before.�
Dance Marathon will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday, with registration at 8 a.m., and will conclude 9 a.m. Sunday.
The event gives USD students an opportunity to raise money and awareness for Children�s Miracle Network Hospitals and Sanford Children�s Hospital. Students collect donations based on the participation in the 24-hour event, which requires them to dance and take part in activities at various locations throughout the community.
At 8 a.m. Sunday, the event will open to the general public for its final hour in the Muenster University Center�s ballroom.
�An event like Dance Marathon is so important because we college students don�t have the opportunity to give back that often,� Berberovic said. �This is a way for us to give back over a 24-hour period of time, and just have fun doing it. �
�The best part about it is, it raises funds for local sick and injured children,� he said.
The money raised for Children�s Miracle Network provides assistance in travel, lodging, food, direct support and medical expenses to children and their families.
This year�s event will feature such activities as square-dancing, a scavenger hunt, ballroom dancing, a fireworks display, a hypnotist and break-dancers.
Twenty Miracle families also will be in attendance.
Berberovic said the event undergoes slight changes from year to year.
�Each year there�s a different theme that goes along with the 24 hours, and this year�s theme kind of layers on the previous event, as we do travel from place to place around the Vermillion community with all the participants. We do add to the theme at each location,� he said.
Last year�s theme was, �Oh, the Places You�ll Go.�
�Each place was a different �location,� such as Disneyland, the circus, Africa, Hawaii � places like that,� Berberovic said.
The theme for the 14th annual Dance Marathon will be kept under wraps until the opening ceremony.
Berberovic has taken part in Dance Marathon since his freshman year.
�I love how it brings all these people together for one incredible cause,� he said. �You get to see the kids that we help and support � and also know that the funds that we raise are going to go such a long way. �
�It�s truly a celebration of life,� he said.
Over the course of its existence, Dance Marathon has raised more than $330,000. It is the largest student-run philanthropy organization in South Dakota.
For more information about Dance Marathon and Children�s Miracle Network hospitals, visit http://orgs.usd.edu/dancemarathon.