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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 1, 2000

Dance Marathon sets $355,000 goal for weekend fundraiser

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dance Marathon, the annual event where University of Iowa students dance footloose for 30 consecutive hours to raise money to benefit the Children's Hospital of Iowa and charitable organizations, begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4 at the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge.

Barrie Jordan, UI senior and Dance Marathon public relations director, says excluding volunteers, roughly 700 students have registered to take part in the sixth annual event, and she expects that this year the UI will reach the $1 million mark in total money raised. This year's theme is "A Millennium of Miracles."

Last year, Dance Marathon participants raised $355,000, much of which went to provide financial support and to fund programs that provide emotional support to child cancer patients and their families being served by the Children's Hospital of Iowa. Jordan says this year's goal is to raise at least last year's amount, if not more.

Students began in earnest last spring preparing for this week and have spent the past four months collecting pledges from individuals and companies in support of the students, who in return, will dance a minimum number of hours. All classes of UI students and various campus organizations have participated in previous Dance Marathons, Jordan says. "We're a very diverse organization and encourage participation from everyone," she says.

In the past, collected money has been used to fund two Children's Hospital positions and to buy medical equipment and supplies for children for use during their stay at the hospital. Among those supplies, Jordan says, are "Comfort Kits," which contain items such as pre-paid phone cards, toothbrushes, hospital food and parking vouchers. "These everyday items help to make the families a bit more comfortable," Jordan says.

Some of the organization for Dance Marathon, an event that includes national participation by more than 30 colleges, is overseen by Lisa Baum-Waters, director, Children's Miracle Network, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for 170 affiliated children's hospitals.

For more information about UI Dance Marathon, contact Barrie Jordan, 353-2094 or online at http://www.uiowa.edu/~dancemar/