By Meredith McBee
Claire Halquist is the lucky one. She never had to hear the words, “You have cancer.” But two of childhood best friends did.
Now, Halquist fights to raise money to help kids, like her childhood best friends, through the first SMU Dance Marathon (SMUDM).
Dance Marathon raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network through dance parties on college campuses around the nation.
President Kimi Rose decided to charter a Dance Marathon organization after realizing there was not one on the SMU campus.
“I kind of just assumed that every school had Dance Marathon,” Rose said. “I was shocked to find out SMU didn’t have DM.”
It was a lengthy process to bring the organization to SMU.
“It took much longer than expected,” Rose said. “I started planning to bring Dance Marathon to SMU at the end of my freshman year (I am now a junior), so it’s been a long time coming.”
Rose had to get a faculty advisor and an executive board. After finding a faculty advisor, she was able to interview and charter the organization on campus.
Rose found support in Brooks Logan, the internal director of SMU DM. He was inspired by a friend who helped raise $3,000,000 for Riley Children’s Hospital through Dance Marathon.
“He was one of the people that really encouraged me try and raise that kind of money for the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas here at SMU,” Logan said.
The fundraising goal for the first event is $75,000, but Halquist, the entertainment chair, has other goals for the event.
“My primary goal for this event is to spread awareness about the good that Children’s Hospital does and how we can help,” Halquist said.
It has been difficult to spread awareness though.
“It’s hard to get a large group of students focused on the same things at the same time,” Logan said.
The Dance Marathon team has reached out to the residential commons and Greek organizations on campus to start teams.
“The more people get involved, the more we will be able to give to the kids and their families at the hospital,” participant Anna Grace Godoy said.
Godoy, a participant on the Chi Omega team, is one who has been inspired by the group’s goals. She has helped raise over $500 by talking to others about Dance Marathon’s mission.
“It’s been so great to see how people respond and give to the organization,” Godoy said.
Dance Marathon’s fundraising efforts will cumulate with a 12-hour dance party in Dedman Center.
Halquist has been at the forefront of recruiting entertainment and planning activities for the whole event.
“We have planned some pretty amazing surprises for the event,” Halquist said. “I have no doubt that everyone who comes will be grateful they did.”
Rose believes this year will be the start of a tradition.
“I’ve seen DM transform lives at other universities and I think it can do the same here,” Rose said.
Halquist has become more passionate through inspiring others to donate and helping to charter the organization.
“SMU will save lives and I am so grateful to be a part of that magic,” Halquist said.
The first SMU Dance Marathon will take place on Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Dedman Center.