FSU Students Touch Children's Lives Through Dance Marathon

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Updated By: Natalie Rubino
March 30, 2014

Some 1800 FSU students are now likely sleeping after spending 20 hours on their feet dancing.

The school's annual Dance Marathon event only lasts two days but it often means adding years to a sick child's life.

Looking and talking with 14 year old Parker Fox, you would never know he once suffered from a terminal illness.

"When Parker was three years old he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease that threw him into bone marrow failure."

Parker spent three months at Shands Children's Hospital in Gainseville.

Shands Hospital is a Children's Miracle Network hospital, which FSU's Dance Marathon partially benefits.

"Because of the money that Children's Miracle Network funds into research and development, he was able to have a new cord blood bone marrow transplant. And he's here today because of that," Kathy Fox, Parker's mom said.

For the past 11 years Parker and his family have been coming to FSU's Dance Marathon and sharing their story.

But they say it's hearing other "miracle families'" stories that inspires them.

"It gives you strength to know that there is other people going through what you're going through and to know that you can get through the other side. There is hope for each new day," Kathy said.

Parker still suffers from some symptoms from radiation treatment he received when he was younger but he says he's just happy to be alive.

"I just feel that I'm thankful to be here today and doing Dance Marathon at Florida State. This is probably going to be one of my future colleges," Parker said.

The Fox family says that as long as Florida State keeps inviting them to Dance Marathon, they'll keep coming back.

Dance Marathon at FSU ended Sunday.

The marathon's students and sponsors raised $781,196.22.

The total surpassed last year's.

The money will be split between Shands Children's Hospital and FSU's College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Fund.

Updated By: Natalie Rubino
March 28, 2014, 11:00pm

Nearly 1,800 FSU students kicked off the school's annual Dance Marathon at the Tucker Civic Center in downtown Tallahassee.

It's to raise money for sick children.

"18 years ago a group of kids got together and decided that they wanted to be apart of dance marathon. That's a national philanthropy that the miracle network puts on," Dara Cohen, the event's Marketing and Publicity Chair said.

The student's are broken into two groups.

The first group will dance 20 hours straight tonight into tomorrow.

The second group will dance another 20 hours straight tomorrow into Sunday.

There's no sitting allowed.

"The whole point is to show that these children are going through hard problems 24/7, so we can stand on hour feet for twenty hours to benefit them," Cohen said.

Student's chanted "FTK." It means for the kids.

Many of those kids who they are helping were there Friday night.

"They're so appreciative. I love talking and meeting with them becauss they love this. They feel like rock stars here and that's what it's all about," Jillian Laskowitz, Morale Chair for Dance Marathon said.

The children who are coming to meet the dancers, who are dancing for them will have plenty of fun. They have tons of activities for them, including this bounce house.

"Each year we get to do something for them and we help them be able to get the treatment they may not be able to afford elsewhere. So I know for them it makes a big impact."

Last year student's raised more than $700,000.

Their goal is to beat that this year.

The money is split between Shand's Children's Hospital in Gainesville and FSU's College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Program.

People in the community are invited to stop by the Tucker Civic Center to see the weekend events.

The Dance Marathon will end on Sunday at 3pm.

By: Natalie Rubino
March 28, 2014, 5:30pm

Some FSU students are getting ready to spend hours on their feet at the Tucker Civic Center, all to raise money for a good cause.

The students will be broken up into two groups. Each group will dance separately for 20 hours straight. It's all to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network in Gainesville and FSU's College of Medicine's Pediatric Outreach Service.

Now the public is invited to come get involved. The event will be going until Sunday at 3pm when the group will make its big reveal of how much money was raised.

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