Gravel and orange leaves crunched under the shoes of about 120 University students and Ann Arbor residents Sunday afternoon as they ran through the Nichols Arb to raise money for the University chapter of Dance Marathon’s Third Annual 5K For the Kids.

The run raised $2,500 toward DMUM’s yearlong fundraising efforts to support pediatric rehabilitation programs at the University’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Royal Oak. The 5K was DMUM’s first major fundraising event of the year. Last year, the organization raised over $500,000 for pediatric rehabilitation programs in the University of Michigan Health System’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Before running the traditional 5K, running a one-mile fun run or walking the route, participants were thanked and encouraged by a few of the families who benefit from DMUM’s efforts.

DMUM Communications Chair Brian Dobmeier, a Business junior, was the first person to break the blue ribbon at the end of the run.

“It felt good to finish first for the Dance Marathon 5K, not necessarily because of the place finish, but because of what the 5K means for the kids,” Dobmeier said. “Through an event like this with every person raising $20, you can raise over $2,000 for a great organization really quick just by having people show up. It’s really exciting that we were able to do that for the children.”

This year, DMUM is emphasizing collaboration with other student organizations and the Ann Arbor community. Throughout the year, the group will partner with MRelay, Blood Battle and Musket to host fundraising events.

“We’ve been focusing a lot on student organization partnerships this year because there’s so many student orgs and we’re all competing for the same things: participation and fundraising,” said Amal Muzaffar, a Business senior and DMUM fundraising events chair.

“We’ve seen this year that partnering with other student organizations really helps us achieve our goals with fundraising and just getting the word out.”

Some of DMUM’s upcoming events include a Halloween Bar Night at Scorekeepers Bar and Grille this weekend and a formal gala at the Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel in early November where participants will get to meet many of the DMUM families. There will also be a fundraising competition against Ohio State University’s chapter of Dance Marathon in the 10 days leading up to the Michigan-Ohio State football game.

“I’m excited to get to meet the families and to get to know the kids that we actually get to help,” said Kinesiology sophomore Rachel Tomassi, DMUM fundraising events coordinator. “When you’re fundraising you’re actually partnered with a family and you get to see someone and you get to say, ‘OK, my money is actually helping this person standing right in front of me,’ and that’s what’s really special about Dance Marathon.”

Editor’s note: Amal Muzaffar is also a member of The Michigan Daily business staff.

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