The UTSA student organization For the Kids (FTK) Dance Marathon will host its fourth annual 18-hour, high-energy, no-sitting, no-sleeping Dance Marathon from 7 p.m., Friday, April 5 to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 6 in the UTSA Convocation Center on the UTSA Main Campus.
The fundraiser celebrates the organization’s yearlong fundraising efforts to help children with cancer and their families. The FTK Dance Marathon at UTSA in 2012 raised more than $35,000.
In partnership with high schools from across South Texas, the FTK Dance Marathon at UTSA will feature a group of FTK dancers who participate by standing and dancing for 18 hours while interacting and performing with the children and their families.
“FTK Dance Marathon at UTSA has an incredible team of dedicated student leaders and volunteers that work tirelessly all year long to provide comfort and support for San Antonio families struggling with childhood cancer,” said Eli Embleton, a UTSA senior in classical studies and overall chair of FTK. “Being able to bring joy to these kids and their families during such a difficult time is not only incredibly rewarding, it also gives us greater perspective and motivates us to live our own lives to the fullest.”
The goal of FTK is to raise awareness while providing financial and emotional support for the children and their families affected by childhood cancer. FTK fundraises year-round for the FTK Fund at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. In addition to raising money, the FTK students regularly spend time with the children at the hospital.
“With the help of FTK we were able to establish an emergency fund for families in financial crisis which has been of great help,” said Leanne Embry, Ph.D., psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “The volunteers spend so much time here at the hospital and so much time with all of us. It’s nice to have all these new people here with energy and new ideas that the patients can be involved in. It just gives the families hope.”
Assistant professor of pediatrics at the UT Health Science Center Gregory Aune M.D., Ph.D., is a strong supporter of FTK and has seen the difference it has made for his patients and their families.
“The initial goal is to provide emotional and spiritual support and eventually significant financial support to families and children battling cancer,” said Aune. “I think that aspect of FTK will continue to grow over time and that was just something that was never here for our patients before.”
On average, 12,500 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. Although survival rates for many childhood cancers have improved dramatically over the past few decades, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease in children.
The FTK Dance Marathon at UTSA will feature other San Antonio groups such as the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio hematology/oncology department staff, and students from Business Careers High School, John Jay High School and four high schools from the Rio Grande Valley.
For more information call 210-449-3524 or visit http://www.danceforthekids.org. Follow UTSA FTK on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ftkdmutsa and Twitter at @ftkdmutsa.