Dance Marathon to host charity race

Steven Barnum, Assistant News Editor

In a way to give to those in need, the Western Illinois University group, Dance Marathon, will be hosting a charity race on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Dance Marathon has been an active student-lead organization on Western’s campus for over five years. The event is part of a year-round campaign that focuses on raising money for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

Next Sunday’s race is titled “Color Run for the Kids” and will begin at 11 a.m. in Macomb’s Veteran Park on University Drive. Dance Marathon hopes to raise $150,000 from the race, which is two miles in length. The group may set high goals, but the event did raise over $135,000 a year ago. Combined with the totals raised from the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, the group has helped raise more than $400,000.

Brandon Mabrey, who is a senior and the Vice President of External Events, believes there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the experience.

“I think people should take how they view life out of the experience of Dance Marathon. They may view spilling coffee on themselves or being rained on as one of the terrible parts of their day, but the majority of these kids have already gone through more than I could have ever imagine before they even turned two years old,” Mabrey said. “Suddenly, that spilled coffee or rain all over themselves really does not seem so terrible.”

On March 30, 2019, the year of fundraising comes to a close with an actual dance marathon, lasting 12 hours. The symbolism behind the 12 hour marathon is to recognize and show respect to those in the medical field who often work 12-hour shifts. It also serves as a way to honor handicapped children. Mabrey has participated in Dance Marathon since 2016 and has been impressed by what he’s seen.

“I have gained an entirely new perspective on life, as I have heard many stories of these kids fighting an everyday battle, but they all still fight with smiles on their faces,” Mabrey said. “They have truly shown me what being a superhero means.”

Mabrey encourages everyone to participate in the event, even if they are not confident in their athleticism. There will be opportunities to dance and sing, plus the chance to celebrate with Miracle Children and their families who are expected to attend. There will also be an auctioneer, guest speakers and several performances from groups across campus.

“All you need is the heart to help others, and the determination in challenging yourself to make a difference in a vast number of lives,” Mabrey said.

According to the group’s Facebook page, Dance Marathon was founded in 2013 and is a nonprofit organization that exists at over 150 schools in the United States. In the past, they have held events at Buffalo Wild Wings, American Legion and Western Illinois University. They consistently drew over 500 participants at their events, and even had over 1,100 guests at a pancake dinner.

To compete in the event, the cost is $30 and will begin at 10 a.m. on the day of the race at Veteran Park. Online registration is also an option and you can do so at If you are unable to participate in the run, donations are encouraged and can be given through Visit for more information on both the race and future Dance Marathon events.