A lot can be accomplished in a day once people set their feet in motion. Participants at the third annual 24-hour Cancer Dance-A-Thon proved just that, raising $170,000 to benefit City of Hope.
|Shesha Marvin, right, twists and spins at the 24-hour Cancer Dance-A-Thon.|
More than 600 dancers jitterbugged their way through the marathon event from March 8 to 9 at the 24-Hour Fitness UltraSport Club in Irvine, Calif., generating the program’s largest participation ever.
Event founder Shesha Marvin was thrilled with the turnout. “An incredible number of dancers participated who never danced swing-style before,” he said.
Also known as the Lindy Hop for Life, the event brings dance teams together, rotating members in and out throughout the 24-hour contest. The 24 participating teams included groups from as far away as England. Marvin attributed this year’s large turnout to his outreach effort, as he coordinated an international dance exchange program — the Lindy Exchange — to coincide with the event.
The dancing extravaganza featured all-volunteer live swing bands and disk jockeys. Added attractions included dance lessons, team performances and contests. Memorable highlights included what Marvin called “jams,” in which dancers gather in a circle, permitting a rotating pair of dancers to showcase their best moves.
The Kool Kats, a four-member troupe from City of Hope, made its first appearance at the event and raised $500. Paul N. Hengen, Ph.D., assistant research scientist in the Department of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research, who led the Kool Kats, noted: “Most of our dancers were novices, but with the onsite dance lessons, everyone fit right in.”
The friendly atmosphere may have contributed to the growing fundraising
momentum. “By 11 p.m., we had exceeded our original goal of raising $150,000, so I raised it to $160,000,” Marvin said. “By the end of the Dance-A-Thon, we beat that, too.”
Marvin’s future goals include expanding the reach of the event nationwide. “It’s inspiring that people who love swing dancing can get together, raise money for cancer research, and change lives,” he said. “Plus, it’s fun!”