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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Fundraising total revealed at Dance Marathon Fundraising total revealed at Dance Marathon

Dancing the Night Away

Students at Dance Marathon raise a record amount for patients at Rady Children’s Hospital.
By Kayla Compton

All eyes were on eight-year-old Gideon Robinson as he took the stage and swallowed a pill last weekend during the Dance Marathon for Rady Children’s Hospital.

It was a record-breaking night at Conrad Prebys Student Union, with more than 1,700 San Diego State University students and 80 teams raising a record $322,219 for medical research and children’s health during the 15-hour event.
But it was an even bigger night for “Iron Gideon,” who has been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia since he was 5. The pill completed his chemotherapy treatment. 

“At last year’s event, he was 365 days out from his last day of treatment, so we held him to that 365 days later,” said Kiara Proctor, a senior and executive director of Dance Marathon at SDSU “We were so excited to see it happen and that we got to follow his journey from year to year.”

“It’s really important not just for our local kiddos but also for kids everywhere that Rady gets to continue giving the great care they give and continue the research that they do,” said Proctor. 

Dance Marathon at SDSU is part of a network of dance marathons benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. More than 400 universities and high schools and more than 200,000 students participate nationwide. Students raise money over the year leading up to the annual event. 

This year’s event kicked off at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Montezuma Hall, and the dancing continued all night with accompanying performances from campus organizations such as VSA Modern and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. The dancing didn’t end until 9 a.m. Saturday, when the total amount raised was revealed. 

During the event, children who have been or who are currently patients at Rady Children’s and their families shared stories of how the hospital has impacted their lives, and how the money raised during Dance Marathon makes miracles happen. 

The Taylor family of Poway has been touched by Dance Marathon and Rady Children's Hospital. Madison Taylor, who fought two types of cancer, was a girl who could light up a room with her smile—and her dancing. Madi beat Ewing’s sarcoma in January 2016, but 11 days after being declared cancer-free she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Madi lost her battle to the disease in October 2017 at the age of 14. 

Last year’s Dance Marathon was dedicated to Madi, with dancers wearing periwinkle blue shirts in honor of her favorite color. At this year’s event, a vigil was held to celebrate her life, attended by her parents, Georgine and Scott Taylor.

“Losing a kiddo is something you open yourself up to in Dance Marathon, but not something you expect,” said Proctor. “We call them miracle kids -- the kids that are healed and have had great experiences. But unfortunately, we’ve had kiddos who have relapsed and lost their battle.”

The event is open to all students and members of the SDSU community. Applications for next year’s executive board will open soon, and all students are welcome to apply. Follow Dance Marathon at SDSU on Facebook and on Instagram to find out when applications are available.