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Sunday June 26th

Carolina For The Kids hosts first in-person Dance Marathon since 2019

Students dance along with Twin Zim Zumba during the Carolina For The Kids Dance Marathon on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at Fetzer Hall. The non-profit organization held a 12-hour dance event to raise money for UNC Children's Hospital.
Buy Photos Students dance along with Twin Zim Zumba during the Carolina For The Kids Dance Marathon on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at Fetzer Hall. The non-profit organization held a 12-hour dance event to raise money for UNC Children's Hospital.

Colored chalk powder filled the air at Hooker Fields around midnight last Saturday as participants danced for 12 hours straight, all while raising $288,306.07 for patients at the UNC Children’s Hospital. 

It was the first in-person UNC Dance Marathon hosted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Carolina For The Kids Foundation, the host of the marathon, is the largest student-run nonprofit in North Carolina and works to provide emotional and financial support to hospitalized children and their families. 

The Dance Marathon — held on campus every spring — is the culmination of the organization’s year-long fundraising efforts. The 2022 event was a departure from past 24-hour marathons. 

“Not sleeping and not sitting for 12 hours is obviously difficult, but it's kind of attesting to that we can do that with the support of other people, and kind of show them we can break through something like that," said Madison Gilder, public relations chairperson for CFTK. "Even though that would never match up to what (the kids) go through when they're in the hospital."

Since the first Dance Marathon in 1999, CFTK has donated more than $5.1 million to the N.C. Children’s Hospital through a series of grants and activities to help cover expenses not included in the patient's insurance plan.

The event involved 17 performance groups, including UNC Psalm 100, a Christian A Cappella group, UNC Flying Silk, a traditional Chinese dance team and a video performance by UNC Figure Skating, Kayla Kilts, entertainment chair for CFTK, said. 

“I really wanted to make sure that it was inclusive of everyone's interests,”  Kilts said. 

In order to keep the event engaging, dancers and committee members were divided into teams to create a competition including games and posting on social media, said Mary-Catherine Gray, operations chairperson for CFTK.  

Kid co-captains — past recipients of grants and benefits from CFTK — also participated in the event.

In the last hours of the marathon, participants moved to Hooker Fields to conclude the night with a carnival. The carnival featured SALEM, and Jokes Aside, two local bands, along with other activities. 

“It was a really fun show," said Brody Young, lead guitarist of SALEM band. "Everybody was super engaged. It was a super fun crowd."

The money that is raised will mainly go to the FTK Fund, which will be donated to UNC Children’s Hospital at the end of every year, Gilder said. The hospital will then use the funds to support research programs or help patients who can’t afford their treatments, she said.

“I'm just so proud of my team and everyone who has contributed to Carolina For The Kids this year,” Gilder said. 

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