On Saturday, Feb. 7, RHA hosted its second annual Fordham Dance Marathon, or FDM, in O’Keefe Commons. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., students danced and played games to raise money for The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer. This year, RHA set a goal to raise $30,000 for the B+ Foundation, and it exceeded its goal and raised a total $41,522.02.
“This event was started last year through the work of the former RHA President, Sarah Hill, who graduated last year, as kind of an event to bring the Residence Halls Association more in line with the mission of the university, which is to be men and women for others,” said Nick Sawicki, FCRH ’16, vice president of USG.
Last year’s FDM proved to be a success, and this year’s event improved upon that accomplishment. With one marathon under its belt, RHA used its knowledge and experience when planning this year’s marathon.
“Last year, it was a little less formal. We were trying to feel it out and see where we stand. People were a little more hesitant to get on board with an event that hasn’t happened before. This year we were able to say, ‘Look, this is how much we raised, this is the attention we attracted and this is where your name will be,’” said C.J. Cacace, GSB ’15, executive vice president for RHA and the philanthropy chair of the Fordham Dance Marathon.
With increased sponsorship and knowledge of FDM, Cacace and the rest of RHA expanded the dance marathon and helped it grow. This year, the entire marathon was scheduled with different events every 15 minutes. Aside from dancing, students could take photos, play Wii Sports or design their own mug or water bottle.
The communications director for RHA, Lucy Koehler, GSB ’17, said the scheduled events and activities were meant to help students “stay involved, stay interested and stay longer.”
Such events and activities included a pie-eating contest, a performance by the Satin Dolls, a push-up contest with the football team, a game of Simon Says and much more. At the top of every hour, students and RHA members alike performed the “Morale Dance.” This choreographed dance to songs like “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson was meant to boost morale and keep students dancing for the full 12 hours.
“My favorite part was Simon Says. It’s pretty funny and it’s kind of nice to feel like a kid again,” said Noelle Starr, GSB ’16.
While dancing and playing games motivated students throughout the day, a fellow Ram showed them the impact of their efforts. During FDM, Kimberly Ragone gave a heartfelt speech about how the B+ Foundation helped her family when her daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2013. Today, Rachel is a freshman at Fordham.
“I’m so proud that you’re all here today, and a little bit of help from everybody will change the future for the next generation of children diagnosed with cancer,” Kimberly said during her speech.
Like Rachel, Fordham’s hero, Lexington, helped students stay motivated and inspired to keep dancing. Through the B+ Foundation, Fordham was able to sponsor Lexington and spend time with him during FDM.
When asked what he most enjoyed doing with Fordham students, Lexington said, “Everything.”
The marathon exemplified the Jesuit mission that resonates throughout Fordham’s campus. Students came together to support a greater cause and help others.
When asked about her hopes for the future of FDM, Cacace said, “Growth, definitely… Increased attendance, increased fundraising, I’d love to see more of a relationship with the kids. It’s hard to always coordinate, and health is the number one priority, but having Lexington be our Fordham matched hero and having him come out is so nice to connect and have that relationship.”
All money raised from Fordham Dance Marathon goes directly to families affected by pediatric cancer.