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Dance for a life

UB Dance Marathon to assist local hospital

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11


Courtesy of University at Buffalo Student Experience

Last year, Stay-Up UB raised approximately $8,000. This year's UB Dance Marathon is seeking to raise $10,000 to assist Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

Stay-Up UB is dancing to improve children’s health.

For the past three years, UB has hosted a fundraising event to raise money for kids with cancer. Last year, however, Stay-Up UB joined with the nationally recognized Dance Marathon organization. The dance event will be hosted on Nov. 10 from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. Each year, the proceeds are donated to Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

This hospital is a teaching facility for UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and recognized as a state-of-the-art pediatric, neonatal, perinatal and obstetrical services throughout Western New York, according to

The people at the Dance Marathon will meet four children – ages 4 to 10 – who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The children will tell their stories.

One of the children attending the event is Natalie Berg. She was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, which affects the development of the skeletal muscle of the embryo, when she was 21 months old. Now she is a healthy first-grader who loves coloring and dressing up like a princess, according to

Other survivors attending the Dance Marathon include Tyler, who had liver problems at the age of 6 and needed a liver transplant to survive, and 10-year-old Gianna, who was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia and survived after six months of chemotherapy. All of these children were treated at Women and Children’s Hospital, according to

Emma Vradis, a sophomore legal studies major, is looking forward to meeting the children and making a difference. This is her first time attending the dance marathon, and she is excited to learn about the children and listen to how they deal with their battles with cancer.

“It must be hard for these kids to go through what they did. They are so inspiring,” Vradis said. “Participating in this event allows me to show my support for these kids.”

Stay-Up UB raised approximately $8,000 last year and hopes to raise about $10,000 this year, according to Shannon Kennedy, a junior political science and sociology major.

“This seven-hour event is like one big party. There are games, we learn a dance and you can play with the children,” Kennedy said.

Throughout the event, people attending the dance marathon will learn parts of a dance every hour for seven hours. At the end of the night, everyone will perform the group dance, according to Bryanna Marotta, a junior health and human services major.

“The point of it is to be active by dancing and standing the whole time, so that we can show the children that we are trying to help them and children like them in the future be able to dance for seven hours,” Kennedy said. “At the end of the night, you feel so good about yourself.”

Unlike Vradis, Kennedy has participated in past events; she is the student who brought Dance Marathon to UB. Kennedy is now the president of Dance Marathon at UB.

“Whenever I go, I just feel so amazing that I just accomplished something so incredible,” Kennedy said. “You raise money for these kids and that saves lives and this dance is just a huge celebration.”

Anyone can contribute to Women and Children’s Hospital by making a donation online. Even though mostly UB students attend the event, anyone can participate in the Dance Marathon by creating a team and registering online. The cut-off date is Nov. 10 and the last date to donate is Nov. 11.

Donations are a major help to Women and Children’s Hospital. This year the goal of the Dance Marathon is to help them bring more smiles and care to the patients, according to

“Last year we had about 1,500 people,” Marotta said. “I really hope it’s like that again this year. Any donation counts.”

According to Kennedy, this year’s event could allow it to grow. The more it grows, the more children can be helped and saved.

“I really think this year is going to be a major stepping stone for us. This whole year has been a learning process and next year will be even better,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully we will be able to get up into the rankings and raise more like $20,000 and keep building from there.”

Kennedy really wants to get the message out there that any donation makes a difference and can help a sick child.



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