A Hope College student poses for a photo with a young patient at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.They’ll be dancing the night away, and then some.

Hope College will host its 16th Annual Dance Marathon on March 6 and 7, drawing an anticipated 900 students to campus for 24 hours of dancing to raise money for programs and services at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Last year’s event was a record breaker with about 850 students raising more than $165,000. The students expect to set a new record this year.

Kierstynn Foster, a Hope student majoring in social work and youth ministry, said she dances because she was once a young patient at the children’s hospital.

“It’s fun to be able to give back and to continue to see the kids,” she said. “Our community really cares about the hospital, and it’s a lot of fun to be involved.”

Andrea Matthew, a Hope senior, has been participating in the dance marathon since she was a freshman. After majoring in biology and Spanish, she will enter the University of Michigan’s medical school next year to study pediatric care.

“Hope’s dance marathon helped me get in touch with my life mission at such a young age, and I’m happy to already be involved helping the kids,” she said.

Hope College students dance during the Dance Marathon at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.All 24 hours of the program are planned out in 10-minute blocks to keep the students energized, Matthew said. The dancers will learn a line dance and participate in a lip synch competition, among other activities. And of course, they’ll keep dancing.

Matthew said  that will get difficult about 7 a.m. Saturday, but the key is to just keep moving.

“Everyone involved has a personal fundraising page, so we share those with friends and family for financial support,” she said. “And different Hope College groups compete against each other to see who can raise more money. It’s a lot of fun!”

Hope College students pose for a photo with young patients at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.The event is free and open to the public. It kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, running through 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7. The kick-off ceremony will be at 6:15 p.m. Friday, with a live broadcast on WOTV-4 from 7 to 8 p.m.

At noon Saturday, Hope students will recognize children’s hospital staff for exceptional care and for helping save the lives of so many children.

After the recognition, some of the hospital’s “miracle families” will share their stories, followed by a musical guest.

If you go:
Hope College Dance Marathon
March 6 – 7, 2015
Hope College Dow Center
168 E. 13th St.
Holland, MI 49423

Park in the visitor’s lot across from the Dow off 13th Street; additional parking is located along the streets surrounding the Dow.

If you are unable to attend in person, you may donate from home, or even from your smart phone.