Dancing in our hearts: Meet the leaders of the 2014 Dance Marathon event

Bring Mary Scheck a burrito bowl from Chipotle or a strawberry cheesecake and graham central station shake from Whitey’s and you will make her day.

Averi Wilson is spending her senior year applying for medical school and loves Googling photos of albino animals when taking study breaks.

Amanda McClure loves cheese, the color pink and Michael Buble.

Scott Timmerman is training for his first full marathon that will take place at the end of September.

Amanda, Mary, Averi and Scott are as quirky as most college students. But they are not typical. They are a few of the faces of the St. Ambrose University Dance Marathon. With the five other executive board members, these students will spend this school year dedicating hundreds of hours to plan the 2014 SAU Dance Marathon.

“Dance Marathon isn’t just an organization on campus,” Scheck said. “It’s one giant family. It’s not a one day event, it’s a way of life.”

Dance Marathon is a nationwide movement that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Last year, the 8 hour event in the Rogalski Center Ballroom raised $47,743.67.

Planning started for the 2014 event the day after the 2013 Dance Marathon. A year full of planning will lead to April 5, 2014, when hundreds of St. Ambrose students will dance and celebrate for ten straight hours. Students may get tired, hot or sore, but they do it all for the kids.

“Dance Marathon is a celebration of the unbelievable strength of our miracle kids,” Wilson said.

Wilson, a senior biology and chemistry major, is the vice president for the 2014 event. Wilson attended the preview event as a dancer in the spring of 2012. She has been hooked since. She was a morale captain for the first official event in 2013.

“In 2009, my best friend lost her cousin to pediatric cancer,” Wilson said. “Dance Marathon allows me to celebrate the lives of children like my friend’s cousin while raising funds and awareness to help the kids who haven’t yet lost their battles.”

All summer, the executive board spent time traveling to meet and visit their Miracle Kids.

“These kiddos steal your heart,” Scheck said. “Being able to get to know the families, their stories and fundraise to help kids treated at our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital [University of Iowa Children’s Hospital] is the most rewarding experience of my life, unlike anything else.”

As the morale captain, Scheck was able to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah this summer to attend the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference. Scheck and McClure accepted the Best New Dance Marathon Award on behalf of the 2013 SAU Dance Marathon.

“I was completely blown away by the 2013 event,” McClure said.

McClure is the executive director and president of the 2014 event.

“Dance Marathon is the most meaningful organization I have ever experienced,” McClure said. “I love these kids like they’re my own family. If a three year old can beat cancer with a smile on her face, I can make it to class in the morning. Who am I to complain of all the homework I have to get through?”

The 2014 event promises to bring more efforts and passion than last year’s. Timmerman is organizing the Dance Marathon Miracle Miles. On Sept. 22, 2013, more than 50 St. Ambrose students will be participating in the Quad Cities Marathon, half marathon or marathon relay for the kids.

“I am extremely excited,” Timmerman said. “I can’t help but get so attached to these kids and I want to work my absolute hardest to help every kid who or has suffered.”

Dance Marathon’s open forum was held on September 4. To learn more and get involved, visit http://www.saudm.org for committee applications and dance registration.

(To see photos from the 2013 Dance Marathon Event — https://saubuzz.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/dance-marathon-raises-over-47000/ )

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