UDance raises $2,252,081.70 for pediatric cancer

Jacob Wasserman /THE REVIEW
The grand total raised was a record $2,252,081.70.

BY Senior Reporter

One could feel the bleachers in the Bob Carpenter Center tremble to the beat of the music as hundreds of university students danced, and danced and danced during the 13th annual UDance.

The 12-hour dance marathon took place Sunday, March 24, culminating a full year’s worth of fundraising in the fight against pediatric cancer.

The grand total raised was a record $2,252,081.70.

The event has become a central university event in recent years, but began back in 2007 as a smaller joint-fundraiser between the Alpha Epsilon Phi and Sigma Phi Epsilon sororities. Sunday marked the ten-year anniversary of UDance’s partnership with the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation in 2009.

It grew from a gathering of a few hundred students in the Trabant multipurpose rooms to an event in the “Big Bob” that was attended by over 6,500 people last year, garnering participation from 130 student organizations.

“UDance financially aids families nationwide battling pediatric cancer and funds cutting edge research studies that have already proven to save lives,” stated a handout detailing the organization’s goals.

Perhaps the most recognizable members of UDance are the B+ (be positive) heroes, the children battling pediatric cancer. Through the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, organizations such as fraternities, sororities and other student groups can “adopt” these children, spending time with them and their families and showing support throughout the year.

The event consists of performances by local musical groups, featuring fan favorites such as Cardinal Shehan Choir and the Dover Drumline. There were also several events featuring the B+ heroes themselves, like the B+ Hero Talent Show, when several of the heroes performed on stage with their adopted student groups.

One performing artist was Emma Kleinberg, who is not a university student but was invited to sing by her friend Stacey Venanzi, the donations chairperson for UDance.

“The most important thing about performance and creativity is using it to give back to those in need,” Kleinberg said.

She also spoke about what she enjoyed most about her first time at UDance, and she said that what she’d enjoyed most was hearing all of the inspiring stories about students that had fought cancer, some of whom she invited to dance on stage when she sang.

Friends and families of past B+ heroes, some of whom had succumbed to their cancer after valiant fights, told their stories. They all illustrated the human side of UDance: stories from hospitals, but more often cute stories and fond experiences that their heroes had shared with those involved in UDance.

The UDance chair for the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Elon Kline, a junior, elaborated on this human dimension.

Kline said that after the economic recession of 2008, his parents were not always around the house as much as they would have liked, as they had to work extra hard to recoup the money that they had lost. He said that experience had a profound effect. Kline primarily wanted to make sure that none of the B+ heroes, especially his organization’s hero, Gavin, had similar experiences with their parents trying to scrape up the money to pay for expensive cancer treatments.

“The last thing (Gavin) should worry about is whether his parents will be there,” Kline said.

He also spoke on his favorite part of the UDance event.

“Honestly just chilling with Gavin,” Kline said, adding that he liked seeing Gavin become less shy as the day went on.

During the event, Joe McDonough, who founded the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation in honor of his son, comically referenced the recent controversy of Newark’s new “unruly gatherings” ordinance.

“This is what you call a super party right here,” McDonough said. “And would you bail me out for making that comment?”

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