SGA hosts Dance Marathon for Children’s Hospital New Orleans


Alumna Rachel Comeaux and other students dance at last year's Dance Marathon. This year's Dance Marathon will occur April 1. Photo credit: Shea Hermann

Raymond Price

Alena Cover

When Amy Ngo, mass communication freshman, was diagnosed with lupus last year, Children’s Hospital New Orleans made the experience more manageable.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system recognizes the cells that your body creates as foreign invaders, so your immune system attacks your own body. Amy knew something was wrong when she was getting high fevers, aching joints and couldn’t stay awake every afternoon. After a series of misdiagnoses from other clinics, she was sent to a pediatric rheumatologist at Children’s Hospital, who finally identified her illness as lupus.

“It was exhausting because it was my senior year when I was diagnosed, and everything was going on, like prom, homecoming, graduation, all the big stuff; but it was bearable thanks to Children’s Hospital. The nurses are extremely helpful and kind. I love it there; it’s like home,” Ngo said.

This April, Amy and over 140 other students will be participating in Loyola’s Dance Marathon to raise money for the Children’s Hospital New Orleans. The donations will be going to a fund for families who can’t afford treatment for their children.

Amy’s initial fundraising goal was $150, but after family and friends shared her fundraising page on Facebook, she surpassed that goal, reaching $500.

Overall, the Dance Marathon has raised about $17,900 so far, according to Amy Watkins, junior marketing major and the executive director of the event.

“Dance Marathon is a national philanthropy, and all of the proceeds go to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and you’re always paired up with your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, and ours is the Children’s Hospital New Orleans, which is on Henry Clay Avenue. Our original goal that we set in January was to raise $10,000, and that was double the goal of last year. By including every organization, I felt like it really would be possible for Loyola,” Watkins said.

Last year, Omicron Delta Kappa put on Loyola’s first Dance Marathon. Watkins said this year Courtney Williams decided that they wanted SGA to put it on so that they could involve more of the student body. A lot of work and planning has gone into the event since it began last summer.

“In July, I went to a conference with the rest of the student government cabinet, and Courtney and Elliot approached me and said, ‘We want to put on Dance Marathon through SGA this year, and we want you to be in charge of it,'” Watkins said. “So, from that point, we started meeting with my advisor at the hospital, who’s in charge of overseeing community outreach. Then last semester, we started planning, with recruiting people and registration, and then we really started kicking it off in the beginning of this semester.”

Another participant, Kelsey Stelly, criminal justice and psychology junior, explained that students who sign up to participate have a fundraising page where they can set personal goals and then contact friends and family for donations. SGA set it up to be simple and quick to use.

“When you sign up, you can send out an email that they already wrote for you, a template. I posted to Facebook as well, and then family and friends started to donate as I shared it,” Stelly said.

The Dance Marathon will take place on April 1, and fundraising will continue until then.