RUDM raises record breaking $692,046.67
After dancing for 30 hours straight, the Rutgers University Dance Marathon participants raised a record breaking final total of $692,046.67 for the Embrace Kids Foundation.
“What I see is so beautiful and spectacular,” said Glenn Jenkins, executive director of Embrace Kids Foundation. “I see student leaders who have given so much ... I see (patients' families) that are dealing with so much, and yet carry themselves in such a great way. What I see is a community.”
But the grand reveal was only one portion of the 17th annual two-day event.
The opening ceremonies kicked off RUDM and set the tone for the rest of the event, said Ema Poni, assistant director of Corporate Relations. The children and their families strutted down a red carpet and onto the stage in front of more than 800 dancers.
A variety of bands played live music in order to foster excitement and keep dancers on their feet for 30 hours. The bands Nine Deez Nite and Jimmy and the Parrots were invited back to the RUDM stage, along with the band Country Comfort for the rodeo-themed hour.
During "Family Hour," dancers, patients and parents danced in a conga line to popular hits like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love” as well as the entire floor flooding with dancers sharing in a collective “Cupid Shuffle.”
Families and children participated in a procession down the Louis Brown Athletic Center after event organizers discussed the significance of RUDM funds to assisting the non-medical needs of cancer and blood disorder patients. Students also offered to donate their own locks of hair to cancer patients.
“I think it’s kind of meaningless if you’re just fundraising and it goes into space ... there’s no face value to it,” Poni said. “That’s what matters –– (that) the money’s going to someone I have a connection with, as (opposed) to some anonymous child somewhere else.”