ANN ARBOR — A 2011 Greenville graduate will spend 30 hours dancing in an effort to raise awareness for pediatric rehabilitation.
Julie Casalou joined Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM) during her freshman year of college to help make a difference — even if it meant dancing for 30 hours straight.
“I joined because I wanted to be a part of a group raising money for pediatric rehabilitation, but it has become important to me for many other reasons,” Casalou said. “Not only do we raise money, but we get to interact with the kids all year long, volunteer at the children’s hospital as well as bond with the hundreds of other students involved.”
Erin Alderink, community outreach coordinator for DMUM, said this is the university’s 16th year hosting the dance marathon, which will take place on April 6-7 at the campus’s indoor track and field building.
“(DMUM) is the largest student-run nonprofit organization on the University of Michigan’s campus and in the state of Michigan,” Alderink said. “DMUM strives to raise both monetary support and awareness for the needs of pediatric rehabilitation programs through year-round events.”
Some therapies DMUM helps support include martial arts, TOPSoccer, bowling club, along with events including pumpkin carving, pajama parties and a charity ball.
“These events lead up to our marathon where dancers stand on their feet for 30 hours to show their support and dedication to the cause,” Alderink said.
For the 2013 DMUM, there are more than 1,000 dancers registered to participate.
Casalou, who is dance captain and helps fundraise and gets things ready for the marathon, said she credits the campus’ “FestiFall,” a student-organization fair, for making her aware of the group and “it’s awesome mission.”
“Dance Marathon’s motto is ‘For The Kids’,” Casalou said. “Seeing what a difference we can make for these awesome kids has made it very important to me.”
The money raised goes to rehabilitation programs at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
Although DMUM does not have a specific amount it hopes to raise this year, the group aims to spread awareness and gain as much support as possible as its goal for 2013
“Dance marathon makes such a difference in the lives of the families involved because, without the support both financially and emotionally, many of them would not be where they are today,” Alderink said. “It really is an amazing thing to see the difference DMUM makes with all of the effort and passion everyone in DMUM puts into the organization for it to be so successful.”