On Feb. 21, the fourth annual Kirkwood Dance Marathon (KDM) celebration took place at the Michael J. Gould Recreation Center after the group raised a record-breaking $16,021.
KDM is not just an event but an organization that works toward helping families whose children are patients at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. This help ranges from providing medical and travel expenses to being a support group.
The members of KDM work year-round doing fundraisers and activities to boost support for the families. KDM Leadership Member Samantha Norton said, “During Halloween we Trick-or-Treat for donations that go to the children at the U of I Children’s Hospital and the money goes toward the families and not the doctor.”
As an example of what this means Norton said, “Let’s say a mom has to travel three hours to bring her kid to a hospital appointment. Sometimes this money might help them with gas, or if they do not have the money for a bus. If the parents have been out for 30 hours, it could be money for a hotel room or coffee or if the kids want a new board game.”
This year KDM broke the previous year’s record for the third time in a row. Director of Student Life and KDM Advisor Seth Vander Tuig said, “I just want to say thank you to the Kirkwood Dance Marathon leadership team. I know that everybody thinks Dance Marathon is one night but it’s really the end of a year-long fundraising effort and a lot of hard work from a lot of dedicated students to make something like this happen to raise money and support kids at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.”
In addition to being recognized by the college, members of KDM also are recognized in the community. On Jan. 30, Norton was recognized at the RoughRiders student night. She said, “I got an award from one of the RoughRiders players for excellence in your school and your community. It is also about going above and beyond as well as about my position with Kirkwood Dance Marathon leadership.”
KDM students recently received news that two families they have been helping would no longer be regular visitors to the hospital because the kids are showing improvement.
They also received news that two more families would be joining the program.