Students dance to raise money for children’s medical services

DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY: ASU students participate in the dance-a-thon on Friday night, which was organized by the organization "Dancing for a Better World." (Photo courtesy of Dancing for a Better World)

Some say music is the universal language of mankind, and that dancing is the world’s favorite metaphor. For political science freshman Megan Mulrooney, music and dancing have not only the power to speak, but also to heal.

The ASU organization Dancing for a Better World held a dance-a-thon Friday night to raise money for the charity Healing the Children.

Mulrooney founded the Dancing for a Better World club this year after joining with friends to initiate a club to help the less financially and medically equipped. She opted to organize and host Friday’s event after hosting a similar event at her former high school raising money to combat pediatric cancer.

“Although I’m only a freshman, I really wanted to do something to give back to my local and global community and this seemed like a perfect way to do so,” Mulrooney said.   “The number of children [in Healing the Children] helped and the lives they’ve changed made a huge impression on me and the other members of the club.”

Healing the Children is dedicated to securing and providing medical services to children in need.

For 12 hours, students danced in the maroon gym in the Student Recreation Complex on the Tempe campus. Individual and group dancers registered to participate and the night consisted of dancing performances and lessons. All participants were asked to raise $20 for the cause through their own donation or fundraising.

“The event was a great success,” Mulrooney said. The Dancing for a Better World organization raised more than $1,500 for the Arizona Chapter of Healing the Children through the funds of about 60 participants.

Students demonstrated willingness and endurance when giving their time and energy for others, Mulrooney said.

Rather than having students simply donate money toward the cause, she said the medium of dancing added an aspect of joy and energy to the contribution.

“We are extremely impressed by the integrity of the kids who executed and put [the event] all together,” said Johanna Ricketts, an administrator for Helping the Children. “It goes to show these kids are extremely intelligent and their focus isn’t just on themselves. I’m impressed with their capabilities; what they’ve done is very commendable.”

Biochemistry freshman Elizabeth Meyer said the event was one of the most exciting and memorable experiences she has had so far at ASU.

“It was quite an honor to have the opportunity to help organize and participate in this event by Dancing for a Better World,” Meyer said. “While the event planning took a lot of work, it was amazing to see the dedication of those involved in order to make the dance-a-thon successful.”

Mulrooney hopes that this event will become a tradition at ASU and plans to host another dance-a-thon next year.

“I know that the dance will continue to be bigger and better, and I hope that more ASU students will take the opportunity to participate in order to have fun, dance and make a difference,” Meyer said.

Healing the Children has helped more than 191,000 around the world, according to the organization’s website. The group has 12 chapters in 22 states.

Because of Healing the Children, a child named Hussein was able to ride a bike for the first time. Hussein attended the dance-a-thon on Friday.

Following hospitalization in Baghdad, Hussein was introduced to Healing the Children and underwent facial reconstruction and three eye surgeries. One of these surgeries created a pouch that would contain his new prosthetic eye.

Hussein is still recovering through additional plastic surgeries, eye evaluations and prosthetic replacements.

“The best part of the event was being able to have Hussein and his host family be able to come,” Chinese freshman Kyle Johnson said.

Reach the reporter at kvanklom@asu.edu