CEDAR FALLS — Erica Lockin eats, sleeps and breathes “for the kids.”
And on Saturday, she and 1,200 others danced for the kids during the University of Northern Iowa Dance Marathon.
In doing so, they raised a record $550,713.07 for the kids — specifically, kids with serious medical conditions.
“We had a goal of half a million; we didn’t think we’d be able to beat it by so much. It was just crazy,” said Lockin, UNI Dance Marathon executive director and a junior management major.
UNI Dance Marathon is a student-run organization that raises money for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City and the Children’s Miracle Network. Throughout the year, all money raised through UNI Dance Marathon supports four areas at the hospital — research, education, equipment and enhancements. The fundraising year culminates with the 12-hour Dance Marathon in March, when the total amount raised is announced.
People from all over the community attended the event, which sold out this year, Lockin said.
“We saw record-breaking registration. We hit our cap of 1,200. We had so many students and community members come,” she said.
Lockin credits the UNI Dance Marathon leadership team for their enthusiasm and “amazing energy.”
“We had such an outgoing team and leadership who were able to properly convey the importance of what we’re doing.”
Also in attendance were 61 Miracle Network kids and families who have been helped by the Dance Marathon efforts.
“It’s really cool that so many of our families can make it. It makes it real. We can look at them and say ‘this is why we’re dancing,’” Lockin said.
UNI Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropy organization on campus, has been helping children with life threatening illnesses since 2012, giving financial and emotional support to hundreds of families across Iowa. The first year, just over 500 people attended the event, which raised $56,473. Attendance and donations have grown every year since. To date, the UNI Dance Marathon has raised more than $1.4 million for the Iowa City children’s hospital.
“We acknowledge that every dollar we raise makes a difference. It’s so moving to see so many college students coming together for something like this. They could be doing so many other things, but they’re choosing to do this. That’s so cool,” Lockin said.