By Noah Alatza
Dance Marathon will return for the third consecutive year to Westfield High School.
The initiative raises money and awareness for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. The event will be from 5 to 11 p.m. Feb. 15 inside the Multipurpose Instructional facility at the high school, 18250 N. Union St.
President of Westfield High School’s Dance Marathon Abi Gift said she has been involved with the program since its inception in 2017. The WHS senior said getting people registered this year has been a challenge.
“With everyone being involved in sports, all of the call-out meetings (for Dance Marathon) have been underattended,” Gift said. “But we are optimistic about our numbers because we have been able to educate the school about what Dance Marathon is, so we are expecting to see the same numbers as the previous years.”
WHS Dance Marathon began in 2017, with the inaugural event raising more than $36,000 for Riley. In 2018, the figure ballooned to $73,325.
“Our goal is definitely higher than last year’s,” Gift said. “We are excited about what our number could potentially be, but if our goal is not hit, we are still doing something important, and no matter how much we make it is going toward a good cause.”
Gift said Dance Marathon is on pace for hitting the goal, but a lot of things need to happen to reach it.
“We need to bring in more corporate sponsors,” she said. “We haven’t hit that number, but we are about two-thirds of way there.”
Gift said she has always had a passion for supporting philanthropic events. The cause also hits close to home Gift, who lost a childhood friend to brain cancer.
“In general, our goal is to support hospitals and research and that kind of thing, and Dance Marathon is something Westfield High School had never seen before, and it intrigued me,” she said. “(Dance Marathon) is very inclusive and everyone can be involved in one night and raise money for something that is important.”