GV to spread love and support at 2019 LakerThon

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GV to spread love and support at 2019 LakerThon

Autumn Babas

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Grand Valley State University not only impacts Lakers lives, but also the community through their constant involvement with the public, and LakerThon is one way GVSU reaches out their helping hand. It will be held again this year on Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Fieldhouse Arena.

LakerThon is a dance marathon at GVSU that celebrates all the fundraising they’ve done throughout the year for kids and families at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital: Children’s Miracle Network. LakerThon strives to not only celebrate through dancing and activities, but also to raise money through fundraising for the kids and families at the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital.

“Dance Marathon started for a patient who loved to dance, so it is our tradition,” said GVSU’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon President Hannah Nyeboer. “However, we like to say that bad dancing saves lives so don’t be discouraged to join our movement if you don’t like to dance.”

A committee of 32 students work throughout the year to plan this event and fundraiser. Currently, there are 263 dancers registered.

“We recruit people to sign up as dancers,” Nyeboer said. “These students are given a personalized fundraising link when they register and are encouraged to fundraise throughout the year, then celebrate with us when we reach our goal at LakerThon.”

LakerThon is hosted by student organization Miracle Network Dance Marathon. The first LakerThon event was held in March 2017, where they raised $18,000 while supporting hundreds of kids at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The second event was hosted in 2018, where $31,000 was raised.

Miracle Network Dance Marathon’s goal for 2019 is to exceed their previous earnings by setting higher standards. A lot of fundraising has been done through Instagram and Facebook links. At the end of the night, Miracle Network Dance Marathon members will reveal the grand total they earned.

“We have a goal of raising $61,600 to tie in with our 616 area code in west Michigan and the amazing ways that our community invests back into itself by giving back,” Nyeboer said.

Everyone is welcome to attend LakerThon. Those who wish to participate in the event can do so by visiting www.gvlakerthon.weebly.com and sending in a $30 registration donation.

“We have activities throughout the 12 hours like games, competitions, zumba, and miracle families speak,” said GVSU’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon Director of Foundation Relations Mercedes Martinez.

Those who come out and support LakerThon will have the opportunity to see and listen to parents and young kids tell their stories about being hospitalized and diagnosed with a pediatric illness.

“It gives you chills,” Nyeboer said. “Most of our miracle kids are stable health-wise, so to see them donate their time and energy to share their story and empower our committee and dancers to fundraise is so amazing.”

Miracle Network Dance Marathon strives to ensure that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone; through their efforts with LakerThon, they are accomplishing this goal one step at a time.