Block 8: Set Fire to the Rainbow

Hayley Glatter, Copy Chief

Block 7 may have been 1980s themed, but dancers also enjoyed a hefty dose of nostalgia during Block 8, when last year’s primary beneficiary, Starlight Children’s Foundation, took center stage.

Cortney Szlemp, Starlight’s DM 2015 liaison, updated dancers on the impact Dance Marathon has had on her organization. Last spring, DM announced the 2015 event raised enough funds for 11 Starlight Sites, surpassing the organization’s initial goal of 10. Szlemp described the therapeutic rooms that include features like lego walls, padded play areas and gaming systems — all the trimmings for a child to “just be a kid.”

“It is incredibly inspiring to know that you are here because you know you can make an impact on the lives of kids and families because you already have,” Szlemp said. “Thank you so much for believing that. Thank you so much for doing it. Thank you so much for changing the lives of kids and families in your community.”

Members from last year’s DM executive board were in also attendance, and 2015 productions co-chair Caleb Young (McCormick ‘15) said the group traveled to the unveiling of a new Starlight Site earlier this week.

Young said visiting the playroom reaffirmed for him the concrete changes DM can affect.

“It was just really cool to see a tangible impact a year later,” he said. “Oftentimes, we make these great promises, and it was cool in this case to see real pictures of real places that we helped change.”

Dancers also reflected on what their time in the tent will mean after they leave it. McCormick senior Scott Sandler said it was incredible to know that a group of students can come together and change someone’s life.

Sandler said he recently spoke with Tom Stanton of the Danny Did Foundation, DM 2013’s primary beneficiary which works to reduce sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. He said hearing how DM continues to change the lives of the Stanton family was a touching reminder of the good that comes out of the tent each year.

“(DM) showed me that anyone can have an impact,” said Sandler, who is a member of the 120-hour club. “Eventually, this money runs out, and what do they have left? They have the memories.”

In addition to Starlight’s presentation, dancer’s enjoyed a video from actor Alfonso Ribeiro, and the finance committee revealed the group raised $47,686 in 10 hours, smashing their initial goal of $10,000 during the timespan.

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