Dakotathon Raises Over $94,000 for Sanford Children’s Miracle Network
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Dakotathon Raises Over $94,000 for Sanford Children’s Miracle Network

     On April 20, USD hosted the 27th annual Dakotathon in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, helping to raise over $94,000.00 for South Dakota’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital, the Sanford Children’s Hospital.

     The 12-hour long dance marathon event concluded the year-long fundraising season and included multiple activities, including dancing to fun music, playing games, eating delicious food and more.

     The Dakotathon serves to remind those in attendance of what truly matters, having fun as well as making memories with family and friends.

     “This year we had special themed games, a rave, a basketball game with the USD men’s and women’s teams and much more planned for the ‘day-of’ event,” Dakotathon Director of Marketing Carly Kunkel said. 

     “We welcome the Miracle Children and their families from around the region to celebrate a magical day away from their normal routine of clinical visits and checkup.”

     Students have fond memories of Dakotathon, too.

     “My favorite memory from the Dakotathon this year was definitely getting pied during the relay race that the PT students put on for the miracle kids,” USD nursing student and former Dakotathon Morale Captain Jillian Busch said.

     “Seeing the kid’s faces when they got to throw whipped cream in our faces was priceless. It was the perfect opportunity for them to just be normal kids and make a mess for a while.”

     Busch shared her thoughts upon how Dakotathon helps to give back to the community.

     “I think that Dakotathon helps the South Dakota community in endless ways. It’s such a wholesome organization working towards such a beautiful goal,” Busch said.      

     “Reaching out to the community for sponsorships, donations, and involvement gives others an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these kids and their families.”

     Although Dakotathon is a celebration open to the public, it is also one of the most important events of the organization’s fundraising season.

     “Our yearlong fundraising efforts directly support children treated at our local Sanford’s Children Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Kunkel said. 

     “These funds play a crucial role in supporting medical research, treatment, and services for children and families facing health challenges.

     She noted Dakotathon’s fundraising efforts are heavily based around the needs of individual families receiving care through the miracle network.

     “We make a tangible impact in families’ lives. For one example, through funds we raise, we are able to provide gas mileage vouchers for families who travel outside of the area and receive care from Sanford Children’s Hospital,” Kunkel said.

     “It is important that parents or guardians are able to be by their children’s sides as they go through these life-changing experiences. 

     Through Dakotathon’s fundraising efforts, we hope to remove financial burdens so families can focus on what matters most- their child receiving treatment.” 

     Busch went on to state her reasons for volunteering with Dakotathon, as well as emphasizing why she believes others should support the cause.

     “I would absolutely recommend Dakotathon to anyone and everyone, and I try to do just that,” Busch said. 

     “This organization has something truly amazing to offer to anyone involved. These kids are amazing and it is so rewarding to be able to give back to those that deserve it most.

     There is something so special about the Children’s Miracle Network and the impact that they make on the families undergoing unimaginable circumstances. The big 12 hour Dance Marathon event lets everyone see just how much of a direct impact we can make.”

     For more information regarding Dakotathon visit https://dakotathon.org.