Students dance to raise money for Levine Children's Hospital. Photo by Austin Chaney.
Students dance to raise money for Levine Children’s Hospital. Photo by Austin Chaney.

UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Dance Marathon partnered with Levine Children’s Hospital to dance the night away Friday.

The annual 12-hour dance marathon began at 7 p.m. and ended at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Over 300 participants came to support Levine Children’s Hospital and raise money for families with sick children.

The night began with a throng of children and UNC Charlotte students running up the third flight of stairs in the Student Union, to the main conference room.

The conference room was transformed into a dance floor with massive projector screens playing slide shows of other fundraisers they have done. There were neon lights and balloons strung across the ceiling and walls. Even a bounce house was provided when participants needed to take off their dancing shoes for a little bit.

Participants were dressed in various colors to show support for their color group. They wore tutus, colorful socks and face paint—whatever they thought showed the most support for their team.

The color groups competed against each other throughout the night in hopes of winning the spirit stick at the end of the night.

“I am really proud of the [UNC Charlotte] campus and community participation. It’s really encouraging and we’re so thankful for everyone” Danielle Miller, a coordinator for Charlotte Dance Marathon events, said.

Charlotte Dance Marathon raises money for Levine Children’s Hospital by partnering with business and community involvement. They also hold events such as Rent a Puppy and Sweets Showcase to raise money.

Seventeen Miracle kids attended the event. These are children who are in Levine Children Hospital or have been recently released. “They are symbols of what we’re dancing for,” Miller said.

Keenan Calbreath was one of the Miracle Kids that attended Friday’s event. He has participated in the Dance Marathon for the past three years. “I love everything about it. It is so inclusive and fun. That’s what keeps me coming back,” Calbreath said.

As the night wore on, participants were taught a morale dance, participated in a Zumba lesson and played games. Families who have been affected by Charlotte Dance Marathon spoke throughout the night as well. The crowd was signaled by the lyrics of “We Are Family” playing over the loud speakers when a family was getting ready to tell their story.

At the end of the night the total amount of money raised was announced. A total of $50, 858.82 was the final count of funds raised throughout the year.

All of the proceeds go to the Levine Children’s Hospital and to the families affected by child-illnesses.