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High Schoolers Groovin’, 33 Years Strong

Dance Marathon Helps Children's Hospital

Monday, March 13, 2006

High school students present last year's check to Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong.

Yes, dancing for twelve hours straight is exhausting.

But, for Brockport High School students, that’s no excuse.  After a 33-year run of all-night dance marathons, they know better than to mess with tradition — especially the highly successful, “for-a-good-cause” sort that has raised more than $260,000 for leukemia research underway at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

Leukemia — which includes a variety of cancers that affect the blood cells that help to carry oxygen and fight infection, and the platelets that aid in blood clotting — is not something most high school students typically worry about, said Craig Mullen, M.D., Ph.D., chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.

“This dance marathon just might be changing that,” Mullen said. “It affords them a perfect chance to act out their sympathy by getting involved and dancing to make a difference.”  

Mullen has spent more than 10 years investigating a leukemia vaccine that, if successful, would kill the few cancer cells that linger after a transplant, preventing relapse. He said that one year’s dance marathon dollars might buy two special tissue culture incubators — “refrigerators” for the research laboratory — or half of a flow cytometer, an imaging machine that allows researchers to analyze the behavior of both cancerous cells and disease-fighting lymphocytes.

The marathon plans to help fund continued research via a well-tuned combination of pizza, themed dance sessions (like retro and pajama party), and the irresistible appeal that this is ultimately “helping kids in the hospital,” said Amanda Hamlin, a senior at Brockport involved on the planning committee who raised $120 last year.

The Brockport Senior High School celebrates its 33rd Dance Marathon at 8 p.m.  Friday, March 17; it will last until 8 a.m. the following morning. The student chairpersons are aiming to involve as many of their peers as possible and beat last years $19,222 total.

Inspired? Want to rumba for research or electric slide for the greater good? For more information on how you can hold a Dance Marathon to help kids at the hospital, call (585) 273-5948.

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