Faculty and staff invited to be dancers in annual marathon

Who wouldn’t help children with serious illnesses or their families if they had the opportunity? Dance Marathon is just such a chance to do something good for others. And this year, faculty and staff are specially invited to participate as dancers, say the annual fund-raiser’s organizers. The 2008 marathon will run from 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29, to 6 p.m. the following day in the Student Recreation Center.

The goal is to raise at least $200,000 for cancer research and for quality-of-life programs for children in Mercy Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent’s Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. Last year, the 32-hour marathon, which is the largest fund-raising event in the state, collected $194,000 and “we want to do even more this year,” said Tom Bethany, Dance Marathon committee member and liaison to faculty and staff.

“Faculty and staff have always been welcome,” he said, “but this is the first time we’ve asked them specifically to be dancers. All they have to do is contribute or raise $25 and stay on their feet for three hours.”

The time period from 6-9 p.m. Saturday has been designated for faculty and staff—who will receive an official Dance Marathon T-shirt, said Bethany. In the first hour, participants will get a tour of the event, where they can see all that goes into organizing such a massive undertaking, watch the children and their families as they arrive and enjoy the ongoing music and entertainment.

The next hour will see Executive Vice President Linda Dobb and Union Director Mary Edgington at the controls as guest disc jockeys, playing classic hits for dancing. The last hour will be for mingling with other participants.

“We want to bring faculty and staff together with students outside the classroom,” Bethany said. “I think it will have a big impact on students to see them participating.”

So far, eight faculty members have signed up to be dancers. “If you can’t be a dancer, you’re welcome to stop by and visit, donate, organize an office fund-raiser or get involved in any way you can. All forms of support are welcome,” Bethany said.

The money raised by Dance Marathon provides concrete benefits to children and their families, he said. The Diabetes Summer Camp run by Mercy Children’s Hospital is supported by the event, as is the annual Christmas party held at COSI in Columbus for ill children and their families. Funds from Dance Marathon built the overnight stay room in St. Vincent’s for families of children awaiting surgery and pay for the therapy pets that visit to provide comfort and distraction, and even for new movies and games for children hospitalized for long periods.

Each year, the chair of Dance Marathon—this year it’s Erin Small—sits on the hospital committee that reviews proposals for children’s and family programs, giving BGSU a direct role in deciding how the funds raised will be spent. “They put a lot of care into what they do,” Bethany said.

To get involved, either as a dancer or to find out other ways you can support the effort, email Bethany at

January 7, 2008