Carolina For The Kids is preparing for its 20th annual Dance Marathon this Friday, emphasizing the evolution of CFTK with the theme "Through the Years."
The inaugural Dance Marathon, held in 1999, had 75 dancers. In recent years, CFTK has drawn over 1,000 student participants for Dance Marathon and has become the largest student-run nonprofit in North Carolina.
This year's Dance Marathon organizers have focused on keeping dancers engaged with new activities like glow-in-the-dark capture the flag and throwback reality television games like Family Feud. The new activities are designed to boost engagement and morale of the dancers throughout the duration of the marathon.
“We’re really packing a punch this year in terms of the activities that we’re bringing along, and we’re not just making a show, but to make it interactive for everyone,” said technology chairperson Gabriel Timotei. “To have everyone not just be a bystander, but to have everyone participate in the marathon and then really leave their mark, especially in our 20th anniversary.”
The annual 24-hour no-sleeping, no-sitting Dance Marathon is the culmination of a yearlong effort by Carolina For The Kids to raise money to support families of patients at UNC Children’s Hospital. The organization’s flagship grant, the For The Kids Fund, provides financial assistance for necessities not covered by insurance, like money for travel and critical utility bills.
Though CFTK hosts several other fundraising events through the year, including a Kilometers for the Kids 5k and One Day Campaign, the Dance Marathon is by far the largest. The 2017 UNC Dance Marathon raised over $420,000, bringing the organization’s lifetime total to over $5 million.