Standing for a cause was taken literally Saturday as hundreds of students remained on their feet for 24 hours during the University’s 18th annual Dance Marathon.

Participants raised more than $460,000 to support pediatric rehabilitation therapies for children with disabilities at William C. Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and the University’s C.S Mott Children’s Hospital. The marathon edged past last year’s fundraising total, which drew more than $446,000 in donations.

“The importance of standing on your feet is to show your dedication to the cause, that you’re willing to make this sacrifice for those that may have challenges that they face on an everyday basis,” Brian Dobmeier, DMUM communications chair said. “This is one day where you’re going out of your way to challenge yourself.”

However, participants were only required to stay on the dance floor for 24 hours, instead of 30, which they completed in previous Dance Marathon events at the University.

Engineering senior Jayesh Srivastava, the DMUM executive director, said the change was made to increase participation.

“There was an aspect of 30 hours that we felt excluded people from everything that we have to offer,” Srivastava said. “What we feel and believe is that anyone who wants to contribute and put their effort towards the cause should be allowed to do so.”

The dancers make up 64 teams with 15 to 20 students in each. The teams compete against one another in different activities, such as a hula-hooping contest, a Miss America pageant and a cheering contest. Teams are partnered with one of the 35 families of a child with a disability, who they interact with at the marathon as well as at events throughout the year. Some families were partnered with multiple teams.

DMUM, which is the largest student-run non-profit in the state, fundraises these large sums because participants are each required to raise a certain amount. Dancers raise $300 and team leaders must collect $350, for example. The marathon is also the culmination of a year’s worth of fundraising activities. This year, teams attended a charity ball, a family fashion show, a talent show and 26 other fundraising and bonding events.

To participate in the marathon, dancers must remain standing for the full 24 hours. Dancers were provided with standing homework tables, a snack station, a photo booth and other games and activities during the course of the event. An “inspiration tent” was also set up for participants needing a reminder of why they chose to spend the weekend on their feet.

LSA sophomore Claire Laing, co-captain of the Delta Gamma team, returned to DMUM for her second year. Laing said the event is a great way to finish off the year.

“Throughout the year you work so hard to raise money and you get to interact with the families and really see where everything you’re doing is going,” Laing said. “To be able to come to the marathon and have this big culmination and celebration of all the hard work you’ve put in and seeing all the kids, it’s awesome.”

Srivastava, the DMUM executive director, said the organization plays a role in choosing what area of the two hospitals funds go to each year.

“We have this unique opportunity to take in requests from lots of the different therapies and programs at both the hospitals, go through their requests and see exactly what they’re asking for and really evaluate how that aligns with what our mission is,” Srivastava said. “Then we get to allocate the money towards those programs.”

The event kicked off with warm-up events on Saturday, including an address from University President Mark Schlissel. Schlissel commended DMUM participants, and highlighted the participation of fraternities and sororities.

“The news media loves to write about problems and disasters and misbehavior,” Schlissel said. “I want to make sure they write about the contribution that the Greeks are making to events like this.”

Entertainment from groups such as the Pompon Team, the Ballroom Dance Team and Groove kept dancers on their toes as the event drew to a close. The event also featured a late night rave complete with glow sticks and flashing lights, where other students could dance and support their friends.

Wendy Muzzarelli has a daughter in Beaumont’s therapy programs, for which DMUM is a benefactor. When asked how DMUM has affected her family, Muzzarelli teared up.

“There are no words to describe how these college kids impact our family,” she said.

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