Northwestern students took to the dance floor over the weekend for Dance Marathon 2012 benefiting The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, and NU Athletics was proud to play a bigger role than ever in helping the dancers raise more than $1 million for the second-consecutive year.
The relationship began in the fall when B+ heroes and their families attended a men's soccer game against Indiana and stood on the sidelines at Ryan Field prior to the Rice home game. Another B+ hero and his family attended a football practice and had the opportunity to meet head coach Pat Fitzgerald and some of the Wildcat student-athletes.
Northwestern and Dance Marathon also co-hosted a youth soccer clinic with AYSO, the Athletic Department donated items including coach-signed memorabilia to a silent auction and Northwestern wrestling and head coach Drew Pariano donated money per student in attendance at NU's home match against Indiana that featured a special sumo wrestling event.
"The relationship between Dance Marathon and Athletics this year was truly special and I hope it is something that can continue in the future," said DM 2012 Special Events Co-Chair Rene Rodriguez. "From the football practice with just Trevor, to seeing a small child who has battled cancer his entire life like Jake hang from the rim for the first time at the basketball practice, or the soccer clinic in which we saw 50 kids go home with B+ gear, NU Athletics has provided us with an amazing outlet to have our B+ heroes meet some heroes of their own. And hopefully, we've created some lifelong Wildcat fans along the way. Again, there aren't words to describe how thankful we are for everything this year."
The hard work began Friday night when the dancers hit the floor, and many of our teams and student-athletes were right there to support the marathoners. While practice and competition schedules prevent most student-athletes from participating in the actual dancing, Athletics and DM collaborated to creatively keep the student-athletes involved. The football team visited Saturday following their first spring practice, and men's basketball made a surprise appearance to boost spirits late Saturday night following their win at Iowa. Freshman Dave Sobolewski even did a stage dive much to the delight of the crazy crowd.
In addition, swimming and diving, women's lacrosse and cross country raised money and danced for a portion of a block with the dancers while women's swimming and diving, men's swimming and diving, lacrosse, field hockey and cross country also helped serve food during the 30 hours of dancing.