Photo courtesy of GTFTK

More than 700 students signed up and participated in For the Kids at GT (FTK) annual Dance Marathon on March 1 in O’Keefe Gymnasium. Embodying this years motto, “We stand for those who can’t,” participants helped raise more than $85,000 in support of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and celebrating the lives of children impacted by them.

According to Drew Keller, Executive Director of FTK this year, their combined efforts allowed fundraising to reach a total of $87,117.29 with after-event donations, which is a 67 percent increase from the previous year. About 60 percent of this total came from individual Tech students fundraising, with 22 percent coming from on-campus fundraisers held by Phi Mu, Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Chi, and the rest coming from various other donations and fundraisers.

“As long as our organization is around, we’ll have a Dance Marathon every spring,” Keller said.

Dance Marathon is a national movement out of the main office of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Salt Lake City. Currently, over 250 universities in the US and Canada have a Dance Marathon, and last year all Dance Marathons raised over $11 million combined.

This year’s Dance Marathon at Tech was the first to run for an entire 12 hours. The day included a number of games, competitions and dances including a “Morale Dance” that participants could learn and which was performed throughout the day. Participants kept busy with all of this as they do not sit down during the entire event to live up to their motto.

“Students love Dance Marathon for a host of reasons, whether we have been impacted personally, want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves or just love a good dance. We can all appreciate the opportunity to see change in our own community,” said Shahzar Mirza, Public Relations Director of FTK.

Every year, FTK tries to get as many of the Miracle Children of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as they can to come out and attend the event as well since it is being put on for them. Kids like nine-year-old Belle Helton, who was diagnosed with Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome and Kidney Failure; 13-year-old Cade Roberts, who was diagnosed with congenital horseshoe kidneys and internal bleeding; or 11-year-old David Ramos, who has been through two liver transplants all had a chance to come and see all of the support that they have through FTK and the Dance Marathon. The money raised will also help support future care for children like this and more.

Mirza was proud of both the turnout at the event and the support of everyone there.

“I have not been impacted so deeply by any other event on campus. Seeing all of the families thank Tech students and our dancers enjoying themselves as well was amazing. The chance to meet the children impacted by organizations like ours was eye-opening to say the least,” Mirza said.