Letter to the Editor: Starlight expresses gratitude for Dance Marathon efforts

Jacquie Hart

Dear Dance Marathon Community,

On behalf of Starlight Children’s Foundation and the millions of kids and families we support here in the U.S. and around the world, we applaud your outstanding efforts to raise funds and build awareness for Starlight through the 41st annual Northwestern University Dance Marathon.

DM’s selection of Starlight as the primary beneficiary for funds raised this year will support one of Starlight’s key programs launched in 1990.

Starlight Sites vastly improve the pediatric patient care experience for children while they are hospitalized. Health experts believe in the benefits of therapeutic environments and the impact these surroundings have on the lives and health outcomes of kids challenged by chronic illnesses. In 2008, a comprehensive report released from the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions concluded that the physical environment of health care settings affects the clinical, physiological, psychosocial and safety outcomes among child patients and families. Evidence for Innovation, Transforming Children’s Health Through the Physical Environment was the first comprehensive report to look at the effect of the physical environment on children in health care settings.

Since kicking off our partnership with DM in May 2014, we have been inspired to work with your committee members, students and the entire campus community as you rally behind Starlight Children’s Foundation and the pediatric facilities, kids and families we support. Your thoughtful, enthusiastic and creative approach to building awareness and fundraising is impressive, and we are proud to partner with you in working to change the lives of medically fragile children in the Midwest.

Through support from individuals, groups, corporations and foundations, Starlight has provided $3.9 million in support to our pediatric partners in the past 18 months alone. Nonprofit and public freestanding children’s hospitals, specialty clinics and camps, and respite houses and hospices that collectively serve more than 26 million pediatric patients annually are part of Starlight’s network.

Thank you for your partnership. We wish you and all of your dancers tremendous success — and fun — in the coming month and during the marathon itself, and I look forward to seeing you March 6-8. Together, DM and Starlight will help ensure that pediatric patients and their families treated in the Midwest have the opportunity to enjoy the healing and therapeutic benefits of Starlight Sites.


Jacquie Hart
Global CEO
Starlight Children’s Foundation