ADream, aDance; alile, aChance
Michael Bucy took to heart the dreams of children con- fined to a hospital, and the dreams of families who try to make life in that setting as normal as possible. He
had a big dream of his own- he saw a chance to help theirs
As a high school senior in Raleigh, Bucy had learned about
Penn State University's student-run dance marathon to benefit
Hershey Medical Center from his older brother, a student
there. Before he graduated, Bucy had put on a marathon at
Sanderson High that raised $12,000 for Duke Medical Center.
As a Carolina sophomore he shared the same dream, took
the same chance, in Chapel Hill.
"A dream, a dance; a life, a chance" was the slogan of the
first UNC Dance Marathon in February. In its first year, it
became the University's largest student-organized charity fund
raiser. The North Carolina Children's Hospital was $40,000
richer, the money used for programs short on funding such
as the Diabetes Education and Care program.
FOR THE PEOPLE
What UNC is doing for North Carolina-and beyond
Of the 32 similar dance marathons held at universities
across the country, the UNC event established a record
fund-raising total for a first year, donating 75 percent of the
money raised after expenses.
"Families think it's them versus the disease, and having
college kids making sacrifices gives them hope for the kids
and the future," Bucy said. "The most powerful time of the
marathon is when everyone has been on their feet for hours
and are at their lowest point, but the 24-hour commitment
of the dancers is similar to the 24-hour commitment of the
doctors, nurses and parents."
People who stay on their feet for 24 hours need moral
support, and 20 families who had children at the hospital
were there to provide it.
Bucy put his idea in motion by gathering frie~ ' ds and together
they sent e-mails to potential volunteers and arents. They
wrote letters home, made posters, talked to rganizations
and spread the idea by word of mouth.
"There was a curious response," he said. "People who
responded had no real concept of what it was all about-
unifying students in the name of the Children's Hospital to
show support for these kids."
Bucy said the students found that giving money wasn't the
only way to help children with serious illnesses. "It is also
about forming relationships with the kids and their families."
On a February weekend more than 100 students repre-
jalll/ a ry / February 2 000
The marathon was UNC's largest student-run fund raiser ever, in its first
senting 71 campus organizations stood on their feet for 24
hours to show their dedication to the cause. Spectators, vol-
unteers and families of the children floated in and out from
noon Saturday to noon Sunday, providing entertainment,
food and support. There were DJs, massages, line dances and
activities with the kids to keep the dancers motivated.
Junior Caron Pizarro was a volunteer dancer for Alpha
Delta Pi sorority for the full 24 hours.
"The hardest thing was staying motivated after we had
been up for so long, but then you see the kids and you see
where the money is going," she said. "We saw the families
and what it meant to them, and we would get a second
wind, and then a third wind."
Pizarro said that in addition to the 10 volunteer dancers
from her sorority, close to 50 members were involved in other
ways by serving on committees, raising money and forming
relationships with the children.
Small and large organizations, private citizens, students and
corporations planned events, filled pledge sheets and made
personal donations to raise money. Lambda Chi Alpha and
Kappa Delta were the top campus fund raisers, together
pulling in $9,549. Other top money raisers werelthe Residence
Hall Association and the Order of the Bell Tower.
The marathon also received a $2,000 grant fJom the UNC
Center for Public Service and a $3,000 gift from Turner Net-
work Television, the top corporate donors.
Marathon 2000 will begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 and end 24 hours
later. The goal will be an ambitious increase: $75,000 and an
attempt to involve more than 100 campus organizations as
well as other participants from other universities. BeliSouth
Corp. will be the corporate sponsor, which is expected to
allow more money to go directly to the hospital.
"We're interested in getting many more people involved