You don’t have to be good at dancing to participate in a dance marathon. In fact, you don’t even have to dance — you just have to care.
5C Dance Marathon’s first annual event, called Party With A Purpose, was a grand, eclectic affair held March 6 that featured dancing, dunk tanks, ball pits and even a red carpet.
The event was organized by a group of 5C students who raised funds and awareness for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, primarily through peer-to-peer fundraising and small-scale fundraisers such as bake sales, according to Kate Aris PO ’22, external director of 5C Dance Marathon.
The marathon, Aris said, was a celebration of all the funds raised throughout the year, as well as a fundraising event in and of itself.
“What we want is to let everyone understand why they are there,” executive director of 5C Dance Marathon Lucie Kapner CM ’22 said. “It is not just a party, it is a program for the kids. We are trying to raise awareness for those kids to make sure their stories are shown.”
Kapner revealed her inspiration for getting involved in this organization.
“I was actually born two months and 17 days early,” she said. “I spent the first six months in my life in a local children’s hospital in Boston. When I was a little child, Boston Children’s Hospital saved my life. If I hadn’t been treated there, I probably wouldn’t be alive today.”
Kapner, who has volunteered at local hospitals and local Dance Marathon events at her high school, jumped at the opportunity to do similar work in Claremont.
“Last year, when I heard that people were trying to start Dance Marathon in Claremont, I knew that was the cause I wanted to get involved in,” she said.
Elizabeth Howell-Egan SC ’22, internal director of 5C Dance Marathon, said she wanted to encourage philanthropy in Claremont, a desire which motivated 5C Dance Marathon’s inception.
“Last year, myself along with a few other students … thought [the 5Cs] would be an awesome place to start a philanthropic movement,” she said. “This is the best way to see concrete evidence of giving back and provide opportunities for people who want to make a difference.”
Two “miracle kids” who were treated at CHLA were invited to join the event. Kylie and Avalon got to walk the event’s red carpet, participate in the festivities and share their personal stories about how CHLA benefited them.
Kylie, a sophomore at Glendora High School, continues to work with CHLA and fundraise at events similar to the Dance Marathon.
“When I was five, I was diagnosed with juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma [a benign brain tumor located in the cerebellum] which needed a craniotomy of the posterior fossa [to be removed],” she said.
Kylie is now completely tumor-free and has been a junior ambassador for CHLA for the past eight years. At the event, she volunteered as a DJ and donated all her proceeds back to the hospital.
Aris said her favorite part of the event was listening to the miracle kids share their stories, expressing fulfillment at having facilitated the connection between them and 5C students.
“It’s not easy to stand in front of college students and detail one of the most challenging aspects of one’s life,” Aris said. “We honor the bravery of our miracle children and families. This part of the night reminds the miracle kids they are not alone. They have a support system in local college kids.”
Hannah Juang SC ’20 said the Dance Marathon exposed her to the valuable work CHLA is doing and how it inspired her to come and support the event.
“The day before the event, [organizers of the event] told me a little about their vision and what the proceeds would go to,” she said. “It was really cool how these hospitals don’t turn down any kid based on their financial or citizenship status.”
At the end of the event, 5C Dance Marathon revealed how much they had raised throughout the year: $13,758, all of which will support CHLA.
“$13,758 is really incredible for us,” Howell-Egan said. “Most programs in the first year raised $5,000 to $7,000, and we raised double that. That is really cool for us to see that we can actually make an impact.”