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UNC students dance to support children's hospital

More than 1,800 UNC-Chapel Hill students have pledged to stay on their feet for 24 hours to raise money for the N.C. Children's Hospital.

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UNC Dance Marathon
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — There will be some aching feet in Chapel Hill by Saturday evening.

They'll belong to the more than 1,800 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students who have pledged to stay on their feet for 24 hours to raise money for the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

The 11th annual UNC Dance Marathon begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Fetzer Gym, with an introduction by football coach Butch Davis, and ends at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Student Michael Bucy started the Dance Marathon in 1998 as a way to unite the campus and help the patients and families of the N.C. Children’s Hospital, according to the dance marathon's Web site.

With the help of 12 students, Bucy held the first dance marathon in 1999 and raised more than $40,000. Ten years later, the UNC Dance Marathon has donated more than $1.5 million to the For the Kids Fund, directly benefiting the N.C. Children’s Hospital.

The fund provides for expenses not covered by insurance or Medicaid that families may not otherwise be able to afford, according to the Web site.

Social workers at the children’s hospital disperse the money to families on an as-needed basis. In past years, the fund has been used to:

  • Pay electric bills for families lacking enough money to warm their homes upon their return from the hospital
  • Buy phone cards for patients who could not afford to call home
  • Purchase CD players for sick children undergoing long hours of draining chemotherapy treatment
  • Provide Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas presents for families who could not afford them on top of costly hospital bills
  • Buy medical guides in Spanish to help Spanish-speaking families understand their children’s conditions
  • Purchase calculators and school supplies for patients who wish to continue their studies while staying in the hospital
  • Provide money for an 18-year-old to purchase a tuxedo for a prom