Hundreds of Alleman High School students spent Friday night dancing for those who can't as part of the school's first ever Dance Marathon. The event raised nearly $15,000 for the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.
The Dance Marathon was held in honor of Judy Greene, an Alleman teacher currently battling cancer, and Patrick Willaert, a junior student and two-time cancer survivor.
"We've actually had a lot of people diagnosed with cancer," said senior Connor Doak. "It's definitely a struggle for our school to have so many people, in such a small school, be affected by it."
Friday's dance, though, was a chance to fight back against the disease. In total, 285 students danced for three hours, raising $14,657.80 for those battling cancer.
"To have this turnout, it helps us feel like we're definitely giving back to the kids," said student Lauren Hogan.
Money raised by Dance Marathon helps provide 'comfort kits' which contain parking, gas vouchers, and care items for families. Proceeds also benefit child life specialists and music therapists, and they help purchase flat screen TVs, DVD players, and Play Station IIs for the pediatric in-patient unit.
All proceeds from Alleman's Dance Marathon will be donated in Judy Greene and Patrick Willaert's names to the hospital.
"It's truly amazing," said Willaert, as he smiled at Friday's turnout. "No, I expected a little, low-key dance for the very first year, but this has gone off with a bang, and it's very exciting to see so many people come out."
Willaert says the support of his Alleman family has been critical in his battles with cancer.
"Extremely important. They've been a great support, they've always had my back in everything... from just little messages to making me a blanket," said Willaert.
Students said both the turnout and money raised surpassed their goals, and they hope the event continues on.
The event was held in conjunction with Augustana College. For more information on Dance Marathon, click here.