U. raises awareness at Dance Marathon


This past weekend was the most amazing weekend of my life. After working for 11 months to prepare for Rutgers University Dance Marathon, I am proud to say that we successfully raised $442,075.06 for the kids. By “we,” I mean not only the Dance Marathon staff and dancers, but also the 77 student organizations and teams that participated this past weekend. And those kids I refer to are the children from Embrace Kids Foundation. These are children with cancer and blood disorders who benefit from the support of non-medical needs that Embrace Kids provides.

This weekend we didn’t just raise a lot of money. We came together to raise awareness for Embrace Kids Foundation and to show others what a great cause this is. Most importantly, we came together for the kids. Our 466 dancers stayed awake and on their feet in honor and recognition of the families they have been matched up with, who have been affected by cancer. They did not just dance for 32 hours because they were doing it with their fellow organization members, or because they were raising money and awareness. They were dancing to show their solidarity — to show those kids that when they feel weak and sick during treatment, there are students out there who are strong and fighting with them. These students are a part of the patients’ families — they visit them in the hospital, hang out with them between treatments and in the most extreme cases, remember the kids and keep their spirit alive when cancer wins the battle.

I am so proud of my fellow DM’ers. Whether a dancer or staff member, I am so honored to have experienced this weekend with every single one of them. Seeing students power through until the very end of the 32 hours is so inspiring and makes me proud to be involved in DM. DM has been my life for four years, and I have never experienced such a positive and determined energy throughout the entire weekend. Every single minute was full of passion and excitement.

To be able to say that I was involved in making this weekend happen humbles me because it really is the dedication of the student organizations that keep coming back year after year that makes DM so great. The DM credo states, “families first, everything counts, surrender yourself,” and this weekend that’s what University students did — surrendered themselves to a noble cause.

Seeing that number go up at the end of the weekend completely took my breath away, not only because it’s a lot of money, but because a bunch of college students came together over one cause and dedicated months of time, fundraising and raising awareness — all for the kids. The tears I shed when the total was raised were of pride and admiration. Thank you to all of those involved in making this weekend happen. Without you — without your efforts — this wouldn’t have been possible.

Julia Crimi is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in mathematics with a minor in sociology. She is the director of Volunteer Management for Rutgers University Dance Marathon.

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