Students Raise $424,855 for Pediatric Oncology Clinic
Media Contact: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3303 or 859-257-3303 x235
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2008) - After 24 hours of non-stop dancing, they were exhausted and footsore, but it didn't show when the 490 University of Kentucky students and dozens of young cancer patients and their families were told all they had sacrificed was worth it - to the tune of nearly $425,000 for pediatric oncology care at the university. With tears and cheers, the DanceBlue participants celebrated a total that quite nearly doubled last year's.
After his team beat Arkansas Saturday afternoon, Men's Basketball Coach Billy Gillispie dropped by Memorial Coliseum and was so moved by the students dedication that he wrote a check for $10,000. Earlier in the day, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear declared it DanceBlue Day in the commonwealth.
The year of fundraising culminated with a 24-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon and the students' inspiring results- $424,855.89 - for the Golden Matrix Fund and the Pediatric Oncology Clinic at UK HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital.
The third annual DanceBlue, the UK Center for Community Outreach's largest student-run philanthropy, involved hundreds of students on the dance floor, on the stage, and behind the scenes raising money on behalf of the Golden Matrix Fund. The fund will help the families of the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic receive better care from specialized clinic staff, better support, and helps give the children back their childhood. It supports basic pediatric cancer research at the University of Kentucky. And as the fund has grown, it is also supporting a late effects clinic that will help screen survivors of childhood cancer throughout their lives, to detect early signs of problems due to their cancer treatments as a child.
In its first year, the students raised more than $123,000. They nearly doubled that last year with a total of $241,515.
In addition to fundraising, student organizations are involved with the Adopt-A-Family program, which pairs students with the families of pediatric cancer patients. Students provide emotional support for the families and organize fun activities for the patients and siblings.