Dance Marathons welcome more Miracle Families, raise more money for the kids

April 26, 2019

This year, college students involved with the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathons in South Dakota intensified their efforts and blew past their fundraising goals. We can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication for the kids and their families at Sanford Children’s.

“I’m continuously amazed by this program,” said Erin Sanderson, development manager of Sanford Children’s Miracle Network. “I’m beyond proud of each and every one of these students. Thank you for making big things happen.”

Dance Marathons are student-driven, year-round commitments to fundraising and awareness-building for Children’s Miracle Network at Sanford Children’s Hospital.

Throughout the year, college students gain leadership, teamwork and nonprofit business experience while raising funds and interacting with pediatric patients and their families.

The year culminates with a 10- to 24-hour dance marathon event where students dance, play games and more to support children served at Sanford Children’s.

Highlights from this year’s events:

2019 State A Thon


When: April 13

Where: University of South Dakota

Raised: $208,732.19, up from $184,239 the year before

What made this year special: The 22nd annual Dakotathon will go down in history for raising the most money in one year for Sanford Children’s Miracle Network!

“This team tried so many new things to make USD Dakotathon even better than before and it paid off,” said Bethany Olson, development officer for Sanford Children’s Miracle Network.

The Dance Marathon board members invited a record number of USD alumni and previous Miracle Families for the celebratory event. What’s more, at least 300 people stayed in the room for all 24 hours.

Participants surpassed their fundraising goal of $200,000 by asking friends and family to make gifts during the Dance Marathon. In one day, they raised an impressive $45,000.

Now, Dakotathon is the second highest fundraising dance marathon program in the west region.


2019 Dakothon

State A Thon

When: April 6

Where: South Dakota State University

Raised: $179,143.19, up from $165,829 the year before

What made this year special: With just 90 minutes left of the Dance Marathon, the executive board learned they were short of their goal. Instead of giving up, however, the board members rallied and asked everyone to raise $50 more.

The challenge re-energized the room, Olson said. A cowbell rang out after every additional gift, and pretty soon students passed the bell all around the room.

When the final number was announced, the group realized they took in $12,000 during their last push.

“It was a powerful moment to see them all come together and do something they’ve never done before,” Olson said. “I could really see their passion and dedication for the kids and their families this year.”

This brings State A Thon’s cumulative total raised for the kids to more than $1 million since 2002!



When: April 27

Where: Augustana University

Raised: $19,803

What made this year special: This year’s event included playing their favorite childhood games and smashing pies in the faces of Augustana wrestlers.