Right now, the Angela Athletic Facility at Saint Mary's College is being used for what it was built for, exercise. However, on Saturday, hundreds of students will pack the floor for a 12-hour, no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon to raise money for Riley Children's Hospital.
Last year the theme was Rock of Ages and Saint Mary's along with students from Notre Dame, Holy Cross and the Michiana community raised more than $104,000 for Riley Children's Hospital.
This Saturday will be the 9th year and the goal is $99,999. Two of the students who are part of the dance marathon were Riley kids themselves.
Sarah Eiker from Carmel was just five months old when she was diagnosed with a severe form of neutropenia .
She says, “I was taken care of in the oncology hematology unit there and luckily I have been in remission since I was 5.”
However, Sarah became a Riley kid again when she was 12 and doctors found a brain tumor.
Sarah says, “Luckily it was benign, I had emergency surgery and ever since then I've been healthy and happy.”
Sophie Wilk, who graduated from Marian High School, struggled with stomach problems all her young life.
Sophie says, “My mom says she would remember I would cry every time I ate.”
The problem did not go away as she aged, and her doctors told her she had everything from an eating disorder to lactose intolerance.
She suffered until freshman year in high school when a visit to Memorial Hospital’s ER found a tumor on her stomach and small intestine that had been there since she was in utero. Memorial sent her to Riley where she had surgery that changed her life.
Sophie says, “I struggled so long and then it was over and it was done and I was fine after that.”
The kids who are now going through what they did are why Sophie and Sarah are wholeheartedly devoted to making sure this dance marathon is a success.
After rocking out last year, this year's theme is the Riley Roundup.
Sarah says, “The main attraction is a mechanical bull that will be right here next to our bounce house.”
Just like last year, there will be dancing, visits from Riley kids and their families, games, food, lots of country music from the DJ and vendors like Salon Rouge providing services.
Saint Mary's College is hoping the Michiana community will come out to the Angela Athletic Facility from noon to midnight Saturday to help Riley kids.
These seniors, Sophie, an accounting major, and Sarah, who is in the nursing school, believe they are here today because of Riley.
Sophie says, “They helped my mom calm herself, realize that I'm going to be ok and I'm going to be able to do all the things other children are able to do.”
With students pledging to stay on their feet for 12 hours of fun and dancing, all for kids they have never met who are too sick to dance themselves.
If you want to take part in Saint Mary's College dance marathon this Saturday, there is still time to sign up.
For $10 you can sign up for the big Riley Roundup event.
Students will pay $15 to register.
If you decide to show up Saturday, the charge at the door is $5.