Valparaiso University’s Dance Marathon hosted its 7th annual FT5K, For the Kids 5K. The event was held on Sept. 26. While the main focus of the FT5K is not centered around solely fundraising, it has gained popularity among the community.

Dance Marathon is a national organization, with more than 400 participating high schools and colleges, dedicated to raising money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“[The FT5K] is just an event to get people interested, get people to learn more about our program, help kick off some fundraising for some people and just a good way to get involved on campus as well,” said Charlie Presar, Dance Marathon’s director of logistics.

The FT5K followed a route around and through Valpo’s campus, beginning in front of the Chapel of the Resurrection and ending by the West Lawn. As announced on Dance Marathon’s Instagram page, Ethan Storer was the winner of the race. The event was divided into three sections to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are not allowed to have an event greater than 100 people, so we have separated the event into walkers, joggers and runners so that there would be more of a separation,” said Lillia Pogue, Dance Marathon’s overall director.

Along with social distancing and a limit on participants, rules were set for wearing masks while considering the strenuous physical activity the 5K presents.

“Walkers will have to wear their masks the entire time. We will ask that runners and joggers keep their masks on if they are in a large clump of people,” Presar said.

Rather than deeming the event simply a 5K, the FT5K title holds importance to the organization as a whole because it is a combination of 5K and the Dance Marathon slogan, FTK: “For the Kids”.

“[For the Kids] is our center of everything that we do. We are very cause focused. So everything we do is for the kids, that’s where we keep our focus because it’s not about us. It’s about having a good time at these events, but we’re doing them so that those kids can enjoy their lives and have childhoods and not have to spend their life in a hospital,” Pogue said.

Similar to years past, the FT5K has been one of Dance Marathon’s primary events, aside from the main Dance Marathon event during the spring semester. Other main activities throughout the year have been postponed due to the pandemic. The Dance Marathon executive board views this as a chance for change.

“I see that as an opportunity for growth, to do things differently and find fresh new ways to do things,” Pogue said.

Supporting the organization can be done through both donating and registering for the Dance Marathon on April 10, 2021. This does however, come with a fundraising minimum for participants. All proceeds will be donated to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Ill. 

“The minimum fundraising requirement is $62. That’s representative of the 62 kids that go into a miracle hospital every minute per day on average,” Presar said.

Register for Dance Marathon via their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages @valpodm.

“We talk about our ‘why’ all the time: why you do it, why you fundraise. And that is the organization’s ‘why’, is FTK,” Pogue said.

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