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Boise State's Dance Marathon is all About the Kids!

By Roya Camp, News and Community
October 27, 2014

Students already have been busy signing up participants for the February event.

Two years ago, Boise State students threw a dance party for a cause: to generate funds in support of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

Mission accomplished. The group generated about $5,000.

Last year, the event caught fire. When the dancing stopped, students found themselves donating $37,000 in support of pediatric care.

And this year, only the third time for the event, organizers have set themselves the ambitious goal of $45,000, nine times the amount generated only two years ago.

For Nick Propp, a 20-year-old Boise State junior from Missoula, Mont, who’s been involved from the beginning and who is co-directing this year’s event with student Jenny Foote, also a junior, it’s a slam dunk. He enthusiastically recounts students’ response to the previous events.

“Do you want to dance for 17 hours? Heck, yeah! Of course I do!” he said. “It is a pretty realistic goal. We have a lot of support from our students, and we’re getting out into the community more.

“You say, ‘Do you like to dance and do you like to help kids?’ ‘Of course.’”

Propp and others have jumped into planning for the Feb. 27, 17-hour dance marathon with a vengeance. The group staffed a booth at the Saturday Capital City Public Market in downtown Boise, attracting lots of foot traffic and interest. And they’ve activated their website, which features an attention-grabbing video and a “virtual dancer” function that allows supporters to pledge without stepping a foot on the dance floor.

The students launched their effort Sept. 25, National Dance Marathon Day among the dozens of campuses across the country that support Children’s Miracle Network events through similar efforts. The Boise State community responded immediately, pledging more than $1,000 in the first couple of weeks.

Student participants will convert the basketball courts in the campus’ Rec Center into a dance floor. On Feb. 27, they’ll set up about 11 a.m., start dancing about 3 p.m. and, with some luck and lots of determination and persistence, they’ll end with breakfast and a celebration of their fund-raising results the next morning at 8 a.m.

Participants are encouraged to stay on their feet for the duration of the event, sitting only when patients and their families make presentations, because, as Propp explains, patients don’t get a break. Dancing for 17 hours is nothing compared with the challenges St. Luke’s littlest patients experience, Propp said.

“I believe that looking at how kids go through difficulties is really inspirational,” he said. “We can learn so much from kids, and as adults, we can get caught up in so much that’s not that important. It’s just super-inspirational.”

Students helping to organize the Dance Marathon have become actively involved with St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. They’ve toured the hospital, listened to families’ stories, and invited patients to be guests of honor at the dances.

“We call them champions, because the whole night is about them,” Propp said.

Hundreds of Boise State students already have signed up to participate. The first year, about 150 participants took part in the course of the event. Last year, about 500 took part and about half danced the entire time. Propp would like to see 900 to 1,000 sign-ups this year and 600 to 700 participants.

About The Author

Roya Camp is managing editor and executive communications coordinator for St. Luke’s Health System.