Students' Dance Marathon Raises Nearly $87,000 for Children's Hospital

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-4579

April 10, 2014 (Notre Dame, Ind.)— What gets 400 college students to stay on their feet for 12 hours straight? Saint Mary’s women will tell you they do it for the kids. Dance Marathon, a fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, has taken place at Saint Mary’s College for nine years. Students started it and they organize every aspect of it, year in and year out. SMCDM is the largest club at the women’s college. This year’s event, held on Saturday, April 5, raised $86,765.70, bringing the total raised for Riley over the years to more than $600,000.

Saint Mary’s students raise most of the funds by pledging to stay on their feet for 12 hours and finding sponsors. University of Notre Dame students also take part. “We stand on our feet for 12 hours and we dance for those who can’t. So many children lose their chance to be a kid when they are in the hospital, whether it be running, dancing, jumping, playing, or just enjoying the innocence of being a child,” said senior Ellen Smith, co-president of Dance Marathon. She has helped put on the event throughout her time at Saint Mary’s.

The community is always invited to attend Dance Marathon, which is held in Angela Athletic Facility and features music, games, crafts, and other entertainment. Throughout the day local Riley families stop by and many share their stories. The impact that Riley has on the community is significant. Families from St. Joseph and surrounding counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics more than 5,000 times each year for the care of their children.

SMCDM is the big finish after a year of fundraisers. This year students organized a concert, 5K run/walk, coupon book and apparel sales, and Give Back Nights at local restaurants where a percentage of sales benefit Riley Hospital. There are also mini-marathons held by students at local high schools including Bremen High School, Elkhart Central High School, and Warsaw High School. The totals from all of these fundraisers are rolled into the SMCDM total, which is traditionally announced at the end of the night.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary's College ranks 76 among the 248 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2014 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.

About Riley Children’s Foundation: Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. As Indiana’s only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families since 1924. Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics throughout the state more than 300,000 times. Riley Hospital’s partnership with Indiana University Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make Riley Hospital the leader in pediatric care in the state and the region. For more information, visit