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Sunday evening, Saint Mary’s Dance Marathon (SMC-DM) kick-started its fundraising year by hosting its sixth annual “For The Kids” 5K (FT5K). This run-walk circled the College’s campus, starting at the Welcome Center and ending with a mini celebration on the lake’s island. 

The FT5K serves as a fundraiser for Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Dance Marathon is a student-run organization hosted by hundreds of colleges throughout the nation that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). 

As a fundraising co-executive, junior Alex Nemer was in charge of the organization and execution of the 5K. 

 “[FT5K] is a great event to get our Riley families, new committee girls and dancers all together for the first time,” Nemer said in an email. 

Involvement in the 5K is open to students, faculty and staff at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross as well as members of the greater South Bend community. 

Mary Selvaggi, a senior and co-executive of fundraising, emphasized the fact that it is designed to be a fun run.

“The overall atmosphere of the race is very fun and cheerful, as we pump everyone up throughout the entire race with motivational posters and speakers,” she said. “There are some who run the entirety of the race and keep time, but there are plenty of others who run simply to run. We support everyone.”

The goal of the event is to get the word out, get everyone together for the first time, build a sense of community and raise money for the kids, Nemer said. 

In addition to running, participants had the opportunity to mingle with Riley families. These are the families with kids being treated at Riley Children’s Hospital who are directly impacted by the fundraising done by SMC-DM. 

Grace Nolan, a junior, has been a participant of Dance Marathon throughout her three years at Saint Mary’s. For Nolan, the most rewarding part of the 5K is seeing the Riley families whom their donations help. 

“It was a fun and friendly reminder that we are doing this FTK [for the kids],” Nolan said. 

The race serves as one of Dance Marathon’s main fundraisers every year. 

Other fundraisers include Riley Week, a week designed to raise awareness regarding children’s healthcare and encouraging students to sign up for SMC-DM. In the past, this week has included a donut breakfast and yoga, ending with eating dinner with the Riley families. 

Selvaggi said SMC-DM is planning new events this year that will include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a formal.

Both Nemer and Selvaggi said it was important for students to get involved, whether it be through participating in the marathon itself or attending the fundraising events. 

The 5K culminated with the reveal of this year’s marathon theme – Back to the 80s.

 The 2020 Dance Marathon will take place April 4 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex.

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