Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement involving college and high school students at more than 150 schools across the country, all raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in their community. These students spend a year learning invaluable leadership and life skills while raising funds and interacting with children’s hospital patients and families. The year culminates with a 12-40 hour long event where the students stay on their feet through dancing, games and entertainment in celebration of the total amount raised that year.
Why stay on your feet for that long? To quote the first Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Dance Marathon’s mission statement: “We dance for those who can’t.” It is this solidarity to – and connection with – the cause that makes Dance Marathon an event unlike any other.
In 1991, students at one university founded Dance Marathon in the memory of Ryan White, a fellow student. The program now spans the entire country, benefiting hundreds of hospitals and countless kids. Dance Marathons have become a tradition on campus and in the community. Each event is entirely student run and all donate 100% of the funds raised directly to their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Last year alone, college dance marathons raised more than $8 million.
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Parmina’s grandmother, Pauline, is actually grateful for the H1N1 flu virus. Without it she would not have taken her granddaughter to the hospital, where a chest X-ray revealed something shocking—Parmina had cancer.
She was diagnosed with a mediastinal embryonal germ cell tumor attached to her thymus, a small organ that sits just above the heart and is part of the body's immune system. Rarely found in children, this type of cancer occurs most often in older men.
Doctors began chemotherapy immediately, followed by surgery to remove the tumor. The treatments were successful, but Parmina’s challenges didn’t end there. Side effects of her lifesaving treatment include some permanent hearing loss, lung damage, cognitive difficulties and potential kidney problems.
Despite life’s challenges, Parmina is an irrepressible optimist. Now 11, she takes good care of her two younger sisters with special needs, and she loves to perform magic, especially for kids in the hospital.