Cougars dance for a good cause

For nine hours on Saturday, a host of caring Cougars and members of the community gathered for a variety of activities at a fundraising event.

However, there was one condition — they would not be allowed to sit for the duration of the event.

The fifth annual Dance On marathon, which raised money for the Texas Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network, took over the University Center’s Houston Room from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The event, produced by UH student organization Dance On, was what coordinator Natalie Patton called “a symbolic event.”

“We stand for those who can’t,” said Patton.

She and her colleagues organized quite a scene which included craft tables, a video game corner, short concerts by local bands — namely Kill the Rhythm and Last Two Weeks — a table for representatives from local radio station Hot 95.7 and meals provided by companies such as Mucky Duck, Panda Express and Whole Foods.

However, it was not all fun and games.

The Karrer family came to the marathon to tell the story of 9-year-old Rylan.

He was diagnosed in October with restrictive cardiomyopathy, an incurable condition wherein the chamber walls of the heart are too rigid for the muscle to pump blood throughout the body properly.

The only solution is a heart transplant.

He has to wear a high-tech mask out in public to keep germs out of his body and has had to start home-schooling.

Rylan’s parents have nothing but positive things to say about him, claiming that he has been excelling in his studies and that he loves video games.

“We’re just waiting on a heart,” said his parents.

The Children’s Miracle Network helps out families like the Karrers and many others with donations to local children’s hospitals such as Texas Children’s, that use the money as they see fit, often to do additional research on diseases like Rylan’s or to help cover some of the medical expenses of the children being cared for.

Many UH groups, including a few Greek organizations, came to the event on Saturday to compete for the Miracle Trophy, which is awarded to the group with the highest combination of advertisements, fundraising success and participation.

Junior Nicole Yaques of Phi Mu was especially proud to participate in this event.

“We’re here because Children’s Miracle Network is our philanthropy,” said Yaques. “It’s a great way to involve the whole chapter in a worthy cause — these children need our help and that’s why we’re here.”

As of Friday night, Phi Mu had raised just shy of $1,000 for the fundraiser and they were still counting.

Tau Kappa Epsilon was also present at the Dance On marathon. Senior media production major and TKE member Adrian Perez said that the event would “definitely become a lasting memory.”
The defining moment of the Dance On marathon came when Rylan stood up on the stage with a mask over his nose and mouth and thanked the students who had come out to support a charity that truly aides families in Houston and beyond.

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