FTK dancers

For The Kids (FTK) Dance Marathon at UTSA was the highlight of year-long fundraising. The 12-hour dance event was held Saturday, April 23, in the University Center.

FTK’s simple, yet inspiring question “Will you join our dance?” was answered by a diverse collaboration of dancers including affiliates of other clubs, various Greek- life members, about 25 high school students from Holmes and O’Connor, Zumba instructors and other independent participants.

All registered dancers had to remain on their feet for the entire marathon, which ran from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Over 100 dancers donated $20 each to dance for the cause.

This was FTK’s second dance marathon, the first being only four hours long. The organization hopes to make it an annual event at UTSA.

The dance marathon was influenced by Penn State’s 48-hour THON, a two-day dance marathon which has been held since 1977.

“Just by them standing there for so long proves how much they all care about this,” junior biology major Christine Wong said.

“I got involved because my sister was so passionate about the organization and decided to join,” Wong said. Wong is a member of FTK and volunteered at the marathon. After graduation she plans to study Physical Therapy at the UTSA Health Science Center.

FTK is a three-year-old, student-run organization in partnership with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital which raises funds for research and helps families battling childhood cancers with their expenses and inform students.

Every Wednesday, “flash mobs” are held outside next to Sombrilla to help raise awareness about the organizationand its mission. In these flash mobs the members of FTK get together around the courtyard and spontaneously break out in dance. Tables are set up with information pamphlets and FTK merchandise for sale.

At the marathon, other vendors, including Voss Sandles and The Lemonade Company, donated a percentage of their sales from the event to the Children’s Hospital.

Throughout South Texas, approximately 200 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. CHRISTUS Santa Rosa is teh only academic children’s hospital in San Antonio and provides health services to more than 120,000 children, regardless of their ability to pay.

Many of these children are participants in research to aid in the advancement of medical procedures to battle cancer.

Speakers at the event included survivors of pediatric cancer, their families, current cancer patients, volunteers, doctors and health care professionals from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. The families of children who had lost the battle with cancer were honored at the event.

Students can already register dance for the 2012 Dance Marathon at www.danceforthekids.org.

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