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University of Iowa News Release


April 27, 2010

Dance Marathon's $1 million gift to boost UI pediatric cancer and blood disease research

The University of Iowa Dance Marathon has made a $1 million, two-year gift commitment to University of Iowa Children's Hospital to support research into pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

The gift, made through the UI Foundation, designates $750,000 for renovation of laboratory space for this purpose in the state's only comprehensive academic medical center, and $250,000 to create a special research fund. In recognition of the gift, the renovated lab area will be named the UI Dance Marathon Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Research Laboratories.

"I could not be more delighted by this remarkable gift or more proud of our students. Dance Marathon is one of our most amazing student organizations," UI President Sally Mason said. "They are a national leader in student philanthropy, and their enthusiasm and success have made the lives of countless UI Children's Hospital patients and their families better for more than a decade and a half. This generous support for cancer and blood disorder research raises the impact of Dance Marathon to a whole new level."

The Dance Marathon Allocations Committee -- a 15-member board consisting of Dance Marathon student leaders and alumni, UI Children's Hospital and university officials and community members -- is charged with reviewing funding proposals and selecting projects to which Dance Marathon funds are directed, said William R. Nelson, chair of the committee and director of the UI Office of Student Life.

UI student Kyle Walters, a member of the allocations committee that made the gift decision, recently was selected to be executive director of the 2011 Dance Marathon.

"Pediatric cancer affects the lives of many families and does not receive nearly enough funding for research," Walters said. "To have been able, as a student organization, to provide the resources to create a space for pediatric cancer research to be done right here at the University of Iowa was an amazing opportunity.

"One mantra of Dance Marathon is, 'When cancer is cured we will dance for joy, until then, we dance for life!' We hope this contribution will bring us one step closer to finding a cure, but until then the students of the University of Iowa Dance Marathon will continue to dance for the kids," Walters added.

Michael Artman (photo, left), M.D., physician-in-chief at UI Children's Hospital, said, "This outstanding gift from Dance Marathon will truly transform our research programs in pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Having dedicated laboratory space and resources allows us to intensify our efforts to find better ways to diagnose, treat, cure and ultimately prevent these devastating childhood diseases.

"We are extremely grateful for, and inspired by, this visionary philanthropic support from our UI students," added Artman, who also is professor and head of pediatrics at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

The 2010 Dance Marathon in February marked the third consecutive year that the UI event has raised more than $1 million. More than 700 patients and family members cared for at UI Children's Hospital joined more than 1,300 dancers for the 24-hour event.

Over the past 16 years, UI Dance Marathon, the largest student-run philanthropic organization at the UI, has raised more than $8.5 million to support pediatric oncology programs at UI Children's Hospital. More information about the UI Dance Marathon is available at

University of Iowa Children's Hospital serves children and their families at its main campus in Iowa City and satellite clinics in communities throughout Iowa. A 190-bed "hospital within a hospital," UI Children's Hospital benefits from the sophisticated services and comprehensive resources of UI Hospitals and Clinics. "Parents" magazine ranks UI Children's Hospital among the top 20 children's hospitals in the nation.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the UI Foundation, visit its website at

PHOTOS: A high-resolution image of UI President Sally Mason is available:

A high-resolution image of Michael Artman, M.D., is available:

A web-quality image of UI President Sally Mason is available:

A web-quality image of Michael Artman, M.D., is available:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

MEDIA CONTACT: Sheila Baldwin, executive director of development, 319-335-3305, 800-648-6973 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550