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Dancers Support Juvenile Diabetes

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March 1, 2005

Children, teenagers and young adults diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and the Evanston community will benefit from the proceeds raised by the 500 dancers who will cram the floor during the 31st annual Dance Marathon (March 4 to 6) at Northwestern University.

Dance Marathon begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4, and concludes at 1 a.m. Sunday, March 6, in the Louis Room at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus.

This year’s primary beneficiary is the Illinois chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation  (JDRF), the leading charitable fundraiser and advocate of Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes research worldwide.

JDRF’s mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Founded in 1970 by parents of children with juvenile diabetes, JDRF has given more than $800 million to support research and research-related education.

For the eighth consecutive year, the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) will be Dance Marathon 2005’s secondary beneficiary and will receive 7.5 percent of the net total of dollars raised to help fund projects and programs proposed by local not-for-profit organizations serving Evanston.

The majority of dancers will be undergraduate students, but faculty and staff members are welcome to dance as well. Each couple must raise at least $750, typically done by “canning” for cash or by asking family and friends for donations.

“For the second consecutive year, Dance Marathon dancers are required to contribute three hours of volunteer work to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Evanston Community Foundation, or other area charities,” said Northwestern senior Melissa Borschnack, executive co-chair of Dance Marathon 2005 with senior Elaine Kanak.

Thousands of other Northwestern student volunteers help to raise funds each year through annual “canning” and special events such as a weekly Trivia Night, a date auction, Battle of the Bands, three-on-three basketball tournaments and pizza parties.

Money also will be raised for the designated charities by mini Dance Marathons sponsored by Northwestern alumni clubs in Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Los Angeles is holding a Purple and White Ball at a Bel-Air country club.

Dance Marathon held a fund-raiser at the Adler Planetarium that was attended by Chicago alumni, JDRF members and Northwestern community members. The event raised $12,000 for this year’s two charities.

Money also is being raised by the sale of blue DanceStrong wristbands priced at $5 each. Other merchandise for sale includes T-shirts, sweatbands and bottle-opener style key chains.

The 30-hour Dance Marathon event March 4 to 6 is expected to attract thousands of visitors to Norris Center to watch and cheer on the dancers. Visitors also participate in fund-raising activities that range from a silent auction, art show and children’s fair to professional haircuts, massages and makeovers, a beer and wine garden, and a hypnotist. A hip-hop show and performances for children also are planned. These and other fund-raising events are open to the public. General admission to the Louis Room is $5. Depending on the event, Norris activities are free or cost up to $5.

Northwestern University’s student run Dance Marathon has raised more than $6 million for various charities since it was launched 31 years ago by Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and Associated Student Government.

Last year, Dance Marathon raised almost $461,300, of which $320,000 went to Have Dreams, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children and their families through training and structured teaching. The Evanston Community Foundation received nearly $26,000.

Dance Marathon is one of the top five donors to the Evanston Community Foundation.

The ECF has awarded more than $1 million in grants to Evanston community groups since it was founded in 1986, with $177,000 of that amount from Dance Marathon proceeds. More than $341,000 of the ECF’s $1 million grant money was given for the purposes of education, primarily to Evanston’s two school districts or to organizations working in the district’s elementary schools or high school.

“Our relationship with Dance Marathon is about more than money, just as Dance Marathon itself is not just about money,” said Sara Schastok, executive director of the Evanston Community Foundation. “Dance Marathon participants and leaders know that giving of oneself is an important part of satisfying philanthropy. They are working especially effectively with us this year to create community connections in Evanston for volunteer service with grantee organizations. There is no better example of the values shared by the University and the community than in the partnership between Dance Marathon and the Evanston Community Foundation.”

Norris Center will be closed to the public from 2 to 8 a.m. Saturday, March 5, and will close again at midnight Sunday, March 6, one hour prior to the conclusion of Dance Marathon.

For more information on the fund-raising events at Norris University Center during Dance Marathon weekend, go to the Dance Marathon Web site at www.nudm.org.

Topics: Campus Life