Grizz-a-Thon, Dance Marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network

Katarina Kovac, Staff Reporter

“You can’t.” Two words that children with disabilities and their families hear all too often. These are two words that the Grizz-a-Thon, Dance Marathon at Oakland University won’t say.

In 1991, students at Indiana University founded Dance Marathon in the memory of Ryan White, a fellow student. The program now spans the entire country, benefiting hundreds of hospitals and countless children.

Dance Marathon is a nationwide organization that fundraises to support the Children’s Miracle Network. Each chapter spends an entire year fundraising for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, building leadership skills and interacting with children’s hospital patients and families.

Oakland is hosting the Grizz-a-Thon, Dance Marathon on Wednesday, March 28.

Dance Marathon OU is now joining other Michigan Dance Marathons such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University to help support the Children’s Miracle Network statewide.

Students will stay on their feet for six hours through dancing, games and entertainment, in celebration of the total amount raised over the course of the past year.

Why are they staying on their feet for that long? To stand in solidarity with those who can’t.  

“Grizz-A-Thon, Dance Marathon at Oakland University is one of more than 300 Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs fundraising for local children’s hospitals,” said Deven Deleston president of Dance Marathon at OU. “Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a movement uniting college, university and high school students across the country.”

The collective efforts of students have raised nearly $180 million since 1991 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Stephanie Jurva, assistant director of student organizations, feels the most rewarding part about participating in Dance Marathon is seeing the kids and families that are helped.

“We have several families that will be attending and they will talk to the participants to let them know how the money raised will be directly impacting the kids,” Jurva said.

The goal is to bring students together and allow them to have fun and raise money for a great cause at the same time. All of the funds from the Dance Marathon will go right to our local Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak.

“It will go to help different programs on the pediatric floor such as the Child Life Specialists that work directly with sick kids and their families,” Jurva said. “It will go to the Bravery Bead program, which gives kids a different glass bead for different medical tests and procedures they experience while they are in the hospital. It helps to fund toys and games so that kids can still be kids while they are recovering in the hospital.”

Not only do participants want to support Miracle Families with the research and doctors our fundraising allows, but also provide events where they can step outside the hospital walls and enjoy the opportunity of just being carefree kids.

“The event is a part of Greek Week and we’re expecting a great turnout on March 28,” Jurva said.  “It has been fun planning and several of the committee members were able to take a tour of the Pediatric Floor at Beaumont and see in person where the funds raised will be going.”

The Dance Marathon at OU will be from 4-10 p.m. in the banquet rooms in the Oakland Center.