It was enough to make St. Ambrose junior Kelli Poole want to dance.
All night, in fact.
Poole couldn't help but be elated when she learned her fellow St. Ambrose students had launched a Dance Marathon program last year. As a very young child, she experienced first-hand the relief the Children's Miracle Network and the University of Iowa's wildly successful Dance Marathon were able to provide her family and a cancer-stricken sister.
The second annual SAU Dance Marathon to benefit the Children's Miracle Network will take place from 3 to 11 p.m., April 6 in the Rogalski Center Ballroom. Poole will play a prominent role in keeping volunteer dancers on their feet as one of 12 morale captains.
A year ago, St. Ambrose's inaugural Dance Marathon came together in a matter of just 10 weeks. This year's event will be the culmination of a yearlong effort to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.
As importantly, Dance Marathon organizers have spent the year helping the families of seven Quad City area children who are fighting long-term illnesses through the U of I Children's Hospital in Iowa City.
Hence, the Dance Marathon motto-FTK. "It stands for ‘for the kids,'" said Dance Marathon morale director Ali Danner, a senior.
Poole is very familiar with the Children's Hospital. The nursing major from Bettendorf spent more than a few of her childhood days there along with her parents, Lonnie and Terry Poole, and her now 27-year-old sister Chelsi. Money from the Iowa program provided games to alleviate the monotony of hospitalization. Visits by the dancers allowed her parents time away from their daughter's side, time enough for a shower or a nap.
For the healthy younger sister, the best memories were made at the Dance Marathons, where the ailing children and their families were treated like stars. Poole remembers being excited as dance day approached.
She dreamed of one day being a marathoner herself. Now, she is.
With a year of concerted fund-raising efforts centered around a website promoting its sponsors, Danner said the St. Ambrose contribution to the Children's Miracle Network will well exceed the $6,000 raised through last year's hurried effort.
Some 350 students, up from 200 last year, are expected to participate April 6. Walk-ins are welcome and cost to participate is a $10 donation.