PLYMOUTH — Saturday night was a night for dancing… hours and hours of it in fact.
Many students filled the Plymouth High School cafeteria Saturday afternoon for a dance marathon organized by Hannah Jacobs and Cassie Gaines, both students at PHS, and both who have been patients at Riley Hospital for Children. Jacobs has spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down and Gaines has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
The two paired with a couple hundred fellow students, teachers, staff and community members to dance the night away, even performing a few flash mob dance scenes, to help raise money. During the day Saturday, for six hours, students danced, played games and ate, but were unable to just have a seat, all to raise money for Riley and the Magic Castle Cart — a castle on wheels with drawers of toys that visits children’s rooms at the hospital. They then performed at half-time of the boys basketball Homecoming game.
“As a Riley kid, it was pretty amazing to look out as I was telling my story to all the faces and see all the support from my peers,” Gaines — who was also crowned Homecoming queen that night — said. “I believe I even made the comment that I am so proud and lucky to know that when I see those faces at school I can say they made a difference and made lives a little easier for kids from all over who are serviced by Riley, including me.”
The idea for the dance marathon was helped by Hannah’s sister, Amy, a student at Ball State, who has organized a 12-hour dance marathons at the university for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, of which Riley’s is.
Participating students registered for $15 and received a t-shirt for the event; and also raised money by asking family and friends for donations. Area businesses also helped sponsor the mini dance marathon. The result? More than they ever expected.
“I feel as though we all did pretty spectacular,” Gaines said, as a high expectation of doubling nearby Bremen school’s $5,000 was surpassed.
“I said, ‘Go big or go home,’” Gaines said when someone suggested $10,000 as a goal. “None of us actually thought we would reach it — let alone pass it like we did. Our ending amount raised was $10,843.39, which is pretty amazing!”
Gaines said she is truly astounded at those who banded together. “Not only the students at PHS, but the entire Plymouth community. It was not just the high school alone, every school in the corporation helped raise money in a certain way,” she said. “Also thanks to Tony (Ross) and the radio station along with other businesses and clubs, not to mention the countless people throughout the community that allowed this all to be such the success it has been. Thank you all.”