Current Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 04:21:17 -0500
Lying on the floor of the Fetzer Gym lobby, senior David Zittrouer finally had a chance to relax.
The overall coordinator for Dance Marathon, who himself had just stood for 24 hours straight, had a lot to celebrate.
“This marathon has run so smoothly,” he said. “It’s so easy to help other people — you don’t have to leave your own school to have such a profound impact on someone.”
Dancers stood from 7:30 p.m. Friday until 7:30 p.m. Saturday to raise money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital. After 24 hours of suspense, the final amount was revealed — $430,181.68 to benefit the hospital.
As red and white confetti fell from the ceiling, tears flowed as Zittrouer addressed dancers dressed in capes and masks — in keeping with the superhero theme.
“Guys, there are some bad things in this world, but tonight you helped make a huge difference,” he said.
Money raised this year did not surpass the 2012’s record-breaking total of $483,210.36. This year 1,641 dancers signed up, while about 2,000 people signed up last year.
But organizers said the number was not the most important aspect.
Brian McSorley, head of business management, said the total should not reflect negatively on the participants’ hard work.
“The final total, it’s really just a number,” he said. “Numbers go up and down, but our mission stays the same.”
“You rest easy knowing exactly where that money is going,” said Ahmad Saad, a sophomore member of the morale committee.
After 23 hours of games and dancing, the marathon hosted “Family Hour,” when a group of children — called “kid co-captains” by participants — and their parents were introduced and some spoke about their experiences with N.C. Children’s Hospital. McSorley said this was his favorite part.
UNC alumni Tiana and Matthew Ayotte are on the hospital’s board of visitors and also the parents of 11-year-old Asheton, who was a kid co-captain.
Born a micro preemie, Asheton weighed one pound and five ounces, and spent her first months in the children’s hospital. But the Ayottes have put those days behind them — now, Asheton attends Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill.
The parents proudly showed pictures of Asheton meeting some members of the UNC men’s basketball team, who made a guest appearance at Dance Marathon.
The Ayottes said Dance Marathon’s support for the children was astounding. Both UNC graduates, the couple recognized the compassion they had received as evidence of the “Carolina Way.”
“There are entire Fortune 500 companies that couldn’t pull off this event,” Matthew Ayotte said.
“It’s hard to describe it if you haven’t seen it,” Tiana Ayotte said.
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