Hello Hope College!

My name is Erin Markley and I am a senior studying chemistry. My co-chair Kacie O’Connor is a junior nursing student. This year we have an amazing opportunity to be a part of Dream Team: a group of students who plan Dance Marathon, benefitting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital! Personally, I am more of a visual person, so I’m going to attach photos here to give you a glimpse into Dance Marathon.

Here is the 2019-2020 Dream Team taking a tour around Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Kacie and I would love to tell you why we have chosen to invest in this amazing cause and why we dance FTK (for the kids)!

Why Erin Dances

Growing up I spent a lot of time at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, which is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital like Helen DeVos, with my two siblings who have disabilities. Going into my freshman year, I signed up to be a dancer and had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The marathon consists of students standing on their feet for 24 hours, dancing, and playing with the miracle kiddos! Flash forward three years later and I am a part of the team planning the event that I fell in love with as a freshman.

Why Kacie Dances

As a future nurse, my heart goes out to families with hospitalized children. I heard about Dance Marathon as a freshman and signed up to be a dancer for the full 24 hours. I quickly realized how special and powerful this event was for so many. I never knew how life-changing 24 hours could be as I learned more about Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and listened to the Miracle Families’ stories. I felt exhausted but inspired and wanted to become more involved. I’m so excited to be on Dream Team this year and give back to an event that impacts so many lives.

If we have piqued your interest, here are a few more details. Dance Marathon is a nationwide partnership of college students with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, such as Helen DeVos in Grand Rapids. Hundreds of universities around the country have teams of students spend a year planning events and fundraising, all leading up to an epic 24-hour “marathon” where participants stand on their feet for 24 hours. All the proceeds from the event will go directly to support children facing pediatric illness – in our case, by supporting the efforts of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Are you thinking, “How can I get involved with such an amazing cause?” Well do we have the event for you! Hope Dance Marathon is partnering with the Alumni Engagement office for the annual Donut Run 5K on October 12. We are calling all students, alumni, faculty, staff, community members, and even out-of-towners to participate in this year’s annual Donut Run 5K FTK! Run, jog, or walk – everyone is welcome! We also have a FREE Donut Hole Fun Run 0.5K for all kiddos who want to be a part of the fun. The whole family can come and support the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital together!

The race will take place on Saturday, October 12 at the Ray and Sue Smith Stadium at 9 a.m., with the Donut Hole fun run at 8:30 a.m. All participants in the 5K will receive a long-sleeve t-shirt, as well as donuts throughout the race and post-race snacks too! The price is $25 for Hope students and $35 for community members, with all proceeds benefiting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Please come be a part of such a fun morning that supports SUCH a great cause!

Register today at

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