More than 400 people turned out with a little Saturday night fever for the third annual Kansas University Dance Marathon.
The event, which has been held at the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center on the KU campus since 2008, raises money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network. The student-run organization donates exclusively to KU Pediatrics.
The turnout, nearly twice what it was for last year’s KU Dance Marathon, had Ellen Hernly, the associate director of external operations, busy from the moment the 12-hour fundraiser began.
“It’s been really great just to get to know the families,” Hernly said Saturday. “Especially on such a personal level.”
Live music, dancing, relay races and various other activities helped keep the energy levels high for the students and children in attendance.
Chasity Tower watched as her two daughters, Makenzie and Hallee, raced up and down the gym floor in burlap sacks. Both daughters are involved in the Children’s Miracle Network.
“This is awesome,” she said smiling.
The goal Saturday, aside from entertaining everyone involved, was to raise $60,000. While the total won’t be known until the event’s end, which is early Sunday morning, Hernly said she was optimistic the goal would be met.
“It’s great that all the money that people from Lawrence and the surrounding area donates goes right back into the community,” she said.
KU sophomore Amir Bachelani and freshman Matthew Coombs both took time away from schoolwork to attend the annual event.
“Having all these kids come out, it’s very inspirational,” Coombs said. “To know that we’re doing whatever little we can to help them out.”
Bachelani said it was an enjoyable break from the usual weekend activities.
“It’s definitely a good cause,” Bachelani said. “It’s completely worth it. We’re having a blast.”
The event is set to conclude about 5 a.m. Sunday.