The second annual Dance Marathon was held on March 1, hosted by LMU Dance Marathon (LMUDM), the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Sorority and Fraternity Life (SFL). Supporting the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, students gathered in Burns Back Court to dance and enjoy festivities, all while raising money for and bringing awareness to pediatric cancer.
Joe McDonough, the founder of the B+ Foundation, began the foundation after the passing of his 14-year-old son, Andrew, due to leukemia. McDonough’s organization provides financial assistance to families affected by pediatric cancer, funds research and raises awareness for childhood cancers. They are now the largest provider of financial assistance to families of children with cancer in the United States, according to their website, https://bepositive.org/.
The B+ Foundation partners with over 80 colleges and universities which hold various events including the Dance Marathon, a Spin-a-thon and various 5K runs.
“My favorite part, if I had to choose one, is seeing the different parts of the LMU community helping such a great cause,” said Luca Basilone, a senior entrepreneurship and economics double major. “That’s the most amazing part about what they’re doing here; it’s only the second year and we’ve seen how much they’ve grown so far, so I think it’s great.”
This year's total eclipsed the $44,349 sum from last year. There will be one last event the week after spring break in partnership with LMU Athletics, which will raise additional funds for the B+ foundation, according to junior health and human sciences major Mike Martinez, the co-executive director of LMUDM.
The six-hour event included speakers senior marketing major Claire Nakaki and junior biology major Catherine Dauw, who spoke about their experiences with cancer and their journeys to recovery. Also featured were various DJs, a hypnotist, LMU dance groups Radix Dance Crew and Kuumba Beatz, a raffle and awards to the organizations who raised the most money for the B+ Foundation. Lambda Chi Alpha raised the most money of all of the participating organizations, with $11,469 in donations.
"I feel like LMU is such a strong community and the sense of the community gets stronger because they have so many events leading up to the main event," said Sammy Lent, a senior marketing major. "You see it on everyone’s Instagram stories about raising money and it’s for a cause, but it’s also getting everyone to participate."
Co-executive directors DeAnna Berar and Mike Martinez coordinated with an executive team of 18 students to create the year-long fundraising program. The team worked with various LMU organizations including athletics, service organizations and SFL to spread the word about the B+ Foundation and its mission.
“Our overall goal, when Michael and I sat down [was] ‘We want this to be like a community-wide event. We want service orgs involved, we want athletics involved and SFL," said Berar, a senior sociology major. “We just want this to be something where everybody can come together and experience it, fundraise together and find different ways to connect with people.”
LMUDM hopes that the Dance Marathon will continue to grow to become a major event on campus for students to participate in as a whole community.
“Regarding the future [of the dance marathon], we’ve already been pretty successful with raising a lot of money, I feel like people are very generous and people get what we’re doing and how good of a cause all of this is going towards,” said Martinez.
Martinez hopes that people will be more proactive by attending events or helping with planning. “I think that’s something that could happen in the future, and that just takes people getting involved and it being more of an established event,” Martinez said.