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The Daily Tar Heel

An inside look at UNC's 2017 Dance Marathon that raised $420,000

Carolina For The Kids hosts their annual Dance Marathon on Friday and Saturday to raise money for the UNC Children's Hospital.

Sophomore Ryan Carp, a member of the publicity committee, allowed The Daily Tar Heel to follow him throughout the 24-hour period and see what the inside of the marathon was really like.

8 p.m. Friday

An hour after the marathon began, there was a line of people waiting to check in inside Fetzer Hall, and loud music was already blasting from the dance floor. In the main gym there was a huge stage set up with flashing lights and the UNC v. Butler men’s basketball game airing.

“So I think, on one level, I kind of have a similar goal as everyone else, just to like experience the marathon again, and sort of for me the marathon is kind of a way for us to kind of get close to what the kids feel — just the grueling nature of all of this,” Carp said.

First-year dancer Shawna Milam said she joined CFTK because she would’ve liked to have had something like Dance Marathon to support her brother.

“My brother had cancer when I was younger, so I mean it’s a really good cause that helps a lot of the families at UNC Children’s, and I kind of like wish somebody had come up to us — so, like, actively putting ... support into that program,” she said.

1 a.m. Saturday

Carp said the marathon moved to Hooker Fields for an energy boost, with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Carp had just finished practicing his dance routine for the committee dance show, but said he didn’t feel physically tired and was hoping to meet new people later in the event.

On the field, people were playing soccer, frisbee and stretching their legs on the elevated bricks.

In order to help dancers stay on their feet for 24 hours, Dance Marathon has a morale committee. Sophomore Ellie Lewis, a member of the morale committee, said she feels as though Dance Marathon is a family and wants to see coordination with marathons at other North Carolina schools.

“With Dance Marathon, I would be really interested in seeing all of the different North Carolina schools house their marathons on the same weekend instead of having some in the beginning of the year, some at the end of the year to have all of them doing it at the same time for however long they choose to do them — I think that’d be pretty cool,” Lewis said.

4:30 p.m. Friday

During the first half of the marathon Carp said he was excited for Tar Heel Town, a community event with games and food, but for the rest of the event he was most looking forward to hearing the stories of the families and how CFTK has benefited them.

“So the rest of this is kind of all ... it’s the most like rewarding part of it, all of the kid co-captains are here,” Carp said.

The kid co-captains are kids who have been in the hospital or are associated with someone in the hospital and run a committee of UNC students.

The marathon ended at 7 p.m. on Saturday with an announcement of the money raised and a balloon drop.

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