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Deadline Today to Participate In 24-Hour Dance Marathon

The UNC Dance Marathon is a few months away, but chances are you're hearing about it already.

The marathon kicks off Feb. 21 and goes straight through Feb. 22, but meetings began last March, and the deadline for dancer applications is here.

The first UNC Dance Marathon took place in 1999 and raised $40,000 for the N.C. Children's Hospital after founder Michael Bucy recruited 13 people to be part of the committee. Last year the marathon raised $122,209 with the help of 400 student volunteers and 577 dancers.

Each year, the 24-hour event is host to guest speakers, UNC performing groups and the children from the hospital to give the dancers a break.

The money goes directly to the families and patients of the hospital to cover costs not associated with Medicaid or medical insurance. In the past, the money has been used to pay a family's electrical bill, buy clothing and buy holiday dinners.

Junior Dana Gottheim who is in charge of raising funds on campus, said there is no specific goal for the marathon. "We don't have an actual number goal, we just always try to do better than the last year."

Today at 5 p.m. is the deadline for dancer applications, which can be filled out online.

But even people who don't think they can spare 24 hours out of their schedules can contribute. An event calendar is posted on the Web site, and an e-mail newsletter is available for those who want to be informed about how they can help.

On campus, Dance Marathon workers have been passing out fliers at Lenoir, even in the rain, and doing "dorm storms" to get the word out.

In past years, the marathon has drawn increasing numbers of dancer applicants, from about 50 the first year to 1,000 last year. Unfortunately, the group only had the resources to handle about 600.

Junior Anna Stokes said that as of Thursday morning, the marathon only had recruited about 300 dancers even though it can afford to have about 600.

A $50 minimum sponsorship is a new requirement for dancers this year. Stokes said it's because dancers last year, including herself, thought they should be doing more.

Sarah Davis, a senior who is in charge of campus publicity, said the group decided it would be in line with other dance marathons and that most people thought it was a requirement anyway.

"It's not to create a limit on the number of dancers, but in the past dancers didn't do anything," she said. "I think this year will be even bigger than last year because so many people are interested in helping out."

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