Planning underway for Washington and Lee’s first Dance Marathon

W&L’s first 24-hour-long Dance Marathon slated to take place next November


Students hold a meeting to plan for W&L’s first Dance Marathon. Photo by Alison Murtagh, ‘19.

by Alison Murtagh

Students at Washington and Lee University are working to plan the school’s inaugural Dance Marathon, a nationwide charity event in which students dance for 24 hours straight to raise money for chil-dren’s hospitals.

All the money raised from the event would directly benefit Carilion Children’s Hospital. The hospital is Roanoke’s chapter of the Chil-dren’s Miracle Network, a charity that raises money and awareness for local children’s hospitals. According to the charity’s website, 32 million treatments for children are provided each year.

Sara Vozeolas, ‘19, is leading the event on campus. She gained in-spiration for the marathon after spending a significant amount of time in and out of the hospital over the past year due to a diagnosis of meningitis.

Her sister, Gwen Vozeolas, is on the Executive Board for Dance Marathon at Georgia Tech. According to Sara, her sister’s time on the board has been one of the most significant aspects of her time at the school. Sara is now following in her sister’s footsteps at W&L.

Both Vozeolas sisters have weakened immune systems, resulting in them having to spend more time in the hospital than the average college student. Their personal experiences allow them to under-stand what the beneficiaries of the Children’s Miracle Network are subjected to on a daily basis.

“I can’t even imagine kids having to be in the hospital for more than one year,” Vozeolas said. “The fact that [that] is a thing for some people is just horrifying to me. It’s something that shouldn’t be happening.”

According to Vozeolas, the marathon is a community-wide event and is not just for the students on campus.

“The point is for the kids in the hospital to interact with the students and families,” Vozeolas said. “Basically, it’s a party for them, but it’s also a celebration of what everyone’s done for the year, and how much work people have put into [the event].”

The club held its first meeting this past Thursday. Claire McCutch-eon, ‘19, was involved in Dance Marathon in her high school, and is looking forward to the event being brought to W&L.

“We started the inaugural Dance Marathon at my high school my senior year and it’s something I really care about,” McCutcheon said. “It’s a beneficial cause, and I think it’s something W&L could really benefit from as a community.”

Deepthi Thumuluri, ‘20, was also involved in the event in high school. She participated in the Marathon hosted by Ohio State because it was close to her home. “I enjoyed the atmosphere of [Dance Marathon] at Ohio State, and just seeing the community of it,” Thumuluri said.

“It’s a good cause.”

According to Vozeolas, the event usually starts small, and then grows over the years. Some marathons only last 4 hours, while bigger ones last up to 36 hours.

“The point is to stay on your feet for however long, because it’s like you have to endure something, kind of like how these kids have to endure something,” Vozeolas said.

Although the night is a celebration, Vozeolas said it is much more than that.

“The point really is, at the end of the day, it’s something bigger than yourself,” Vozeolas said. “Yeah it’s a celebration, yeah it’s supposed to be fun, but you’re also doing it because not everyone has that op-portunity.”

Members of the club are planning to host smaller events leading up to the Dance Marathon. The tentative date for the Marathon is some-time next November. New members are encouraged to contact Sara Vozeolas at [email protected].