BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Dance Marathon’s (IUDM) annual Ryan and Ashley Week will take place April 14 through April 182014, during which the organization will honor its two angels, Ryan White and Ashley Crouse.

Throughout the week, IUDM decorates the campus with flyers and balloons to educate Indiana University students about the importance of Ryan and Ashley. The week will conclude on Friday with A Walk to Remember to commemorate both Ryan and Ashley. The walk starts at 4 p.m. at Kappa Kappa Gamma, Ashley’s sorority while she was a student at Indiana University.

IUDM was founded in 1991 in honor of Ryan White and has grown to become the nation’s second largest student-run philanthropic organization, raising over $16 million for the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Ryan, a teenager from Kokomo, Ind., contracted HIV/AIDS through a contaminated blood transfusion he received to treat hemophilia.

Though doctors said he posed no risk to other students, he was denied the right to return to class by the Kokomo school district. The ensuing court battles made headlines across the country and national celebrities like Michael Jackson and Elton John befriended Ryan and advocated on his behalf.

Fighting against a fearful, misinformed community, Ryan won the right to return to school and eventually even testified before the President’s Commission on AIDS. IUDM honors Ryan by wearing his initials on all IUDM apparel.

On April 12, 2005, IUDM suffered another loss when Ashley passed away from a car crash. As Vice President of Communications on the IUDM Executive Council, Ashley worked hard for a cause she believed in.  Ashley’s hometown of Carmel, Indiana has joined with IUDM to create one of the most successful high school dance marathons in the country. Like Ryan, IUDM honors her life by wearing her initials on all apparel.

About Indiana University Dance Marathon

Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) is a yearlong fundraising and awareness effort that benefits Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. It culminates in a 36-hour dance marathon during which over 3,000 IU students remain standing and awake for 36 consecutive hours to honor the children at Riley and prove that out of difficulties grow miracles.

Since its establishment in 1991, IUDM has become the nation’s second-largest student run philanthropic organization and has raised over $16 million for the hospital’s Ryan White Infectious Disease Center.  This past year IUDM raised over $2.6 million for the kids. For more information, visit www.iudm.org.

About Riley Hospital for Children:

Riley Hospital for Children, located in Indianapolis, is Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital, with pediatric specialists in every field of medicine and surgery. Riley is a national leader in innovative research and medical education. It treats all patients, regardless of their family’s financial standing, and serves more than 230,000 patient visits each year.

Riley Hospital’s partnership with IU Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make it the leader in pediatric care in the state and the region. For more information, visit www.rileykids.com.