IUDM30 Recap: Celebrating 3 Decades of Success and Legacy
By: Sarah Pfeiffer
As an overwhelming number of cars stretched around the Tennis Center parking lot and switched on the special IU Dance Marathon radio broadcast station, a sudden chorus of car horns and FTK chants arose from the crowd. It was our own special song for the 30th anniversary of IUDM. And as the adrenaline raced, and the total of $2,905,188.23 was revealed, it was difficult not to reflect on such an extraordinary anniversary year IUDM has experienced.
While the rumbling roar of dancing college students faded into animated clapping hands and TikTok line dance tutorials due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fiercely committed members of IUDM made this unexpectedly turbulent anniversary extremely special and uniquely memorable.
Throughout the fall semester, IUDM creatively converted every event, fundraiser and meeting into engaging virtual experiences.
“Dance marathon events were something to look forward to,” IUDM alumni Michelle Kravitz said. “We have all felt extremely isolated for the past couple of months and this was a really unique way to all be together.”
She said even alumni involvement in dance marathon events increased drastically because many people who were compelled to support the organization could participate in the virtual events with the extra cost and stress of traveling eliminated.
“Every little bit we can do by raising money for the hospital and including everyone without risking the health of others was very powerful,” Kravitz said, claiming her connection to the organization felt the strongest it has in past years.
The ultimate goal of IUDM is to raise funds which go toward the infectious disease center and clinical research at Riley Hospital for Children. Now more than ever, the mission of IUDM is so important because we are truly contributing to a cause greater than Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
IUDM dancers directly helped young people and their families affected by COVID-19 and educated others about how impactful IUDM has been for them, a fact not lost on participants.
Our very own Riley Buddy, Braden Tamosaitis, was quick to express his enjoyment of IUDM 30. Riley said his favorite part of IUDM’s 30th anniversary was the Zoom call between Riley buddies and the Riley Development Committee. He proudly said he hung out with Riley D all day (and night!), Tamosaitis said he was on the Zoom from 7 a.m. Saturday to 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
He said it was very cool to talk all night long and meet new friends. With a moment to pause and reflect, Riley said he loved it and cannot wait for more Zoom calls, Instagram lives and X-Box matches to hang out with his friends again this spring semester.
Freshman RHARC member Maggie Dolye also described how wonderful this past year was.
“How much we raised even in a pandemic when everyone was working extra hard was actually more rewarding,” Doyle said.
Doyle said she joined IUDM because she had participated in dance marathons as a high school student, but her experience this year was heightened due to the inspiration she received participating in all of the virtual IUDM events. She described the importance of the Riley Stories and blog page in her experience on educating herself and others about what IUDM does, which consequently inspires people to push even harder to fundraise for the kids. As Doyle proudly said, the mission and impact IUDM has on Riley children and their families’ is so evident in anything the organization publishes.
After such a trying year, IUDM 30 was an event that united everyone as we accomplished such an important mission. While this dance marathon began with the intention of celebrating 30 years of IUDM with large events and grand gatherings, it became a much more intimate and special experience focusing internally on the hospital, the Riley families, and the true mission of IUDM.
Watching the video recap of each committee participating in their socially distanced, masked events during the dance marathon provided an overwhelming sense of joy and pride realizing each member of IUDM contributed to this wonderful year of fundraising and education as a true team. From a virtual Gala to masked fundraising and live-streamed Riley Buddy talent shows, IUDM 30 went above and beyond by inspiring the community to help others to donate to Riley Hospital for Children and raised a staggering $2,905,188.23 for the kids, all during a global pandemic. FTK all ways and always Hoosiers, only 282 beans until IUDM 31!