By Ella Kimberly, Reporter
Baylor’s student organization For The Kids will host a charity dance marathon starting at 5 p.m. on Friday Nov. 21 at Fountain Mall.
The event will serve as a fundraising effort for McLane Children’s Scott & White hospital in Temple. The event is set to go up until 1 a.m. the next morning, and special guests will include children from the hospital and other student organizations.
“The mission of For the Kids is to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer, specifically in the Waco area,” said Cranston, Rhode Island senior Prashant Appikatla. . Currently, For the Kids has approximately 25 members.
As of Thursday, there were 59 participants registered for Friday and over 100 people interested in the event on Facebook.
Dance Marathon is an event that Miracle Network has created. It is entirely student organized and 100 percent of the money raised goes to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
According to their website, Dance Marathon is the most participated in student-led philanthropy event in the United States.
“Dance Marathon is a very common fundraiser going on across America. It has been very successful at other universities,” said Appikatla, founder of For the Kids on Baylor’s campus. “Also, there is a way to express your feelings through dance that you can’t really do just speaking. It’s a way to celebrate these kids and get them out of the mindset or perspective of going through the hospital and treatment.”
Baylor’s For the Kids is partnered with McLane Scott & White in Temple and has sponsored four families to attend Friday’s event. Within these four families, there are seven children.
“That moment of connecting with the kids and hearing what they had to go through in the first 6 years of their lives, it is so powerful and so motivating. That interaction we have with them is the most rewarding part, because it is a very intimate part of their life,” Appikatla said.
The student organizations participating at this event include Baylor Swing Dance Society; Poppers, Lockers, and Breakers; and Latin Dance Society.
“There’s a lot of money that’s given regularly and fundraising events that give to cancer, but there’s something unique and special about the tragedy of children facing this health problem, and there’s sadly not enough funding that goes to this,” said Boise, Idaho senior Kade Major, president of Baylor Swing Dance Society, said.
The participating student organizations will be featured at different times throughout the event.
“To keep the energy up and to showcase student organizations, there will be a performance roughly every hour or so,” Major said. “We’ll do a performance but we will also do a mini lesson so that people who are interested in swing dance can learn and come join.”
As this is the first Dance Marathon on Baylor’s campus, Appikatla has great expectations.
“During this event we first want to raise awareness for pediatric cancer because it’s overlooked by social media and by a lot of bigger companies and philanthropies. Second, is to give these kids relief and show them that they are not fighting this fight by themselves and the last is to raise money… All the money we raise will go to medicine and equipment specific to oncology treatments,” Appikatla said.
Participants are encouraged to dress up in Superhero costumes, as the kids will be. Registration is available until the start of the event.