Students Dance for 16 Hours Raising Money for UVA Children's Hos - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Students Dance for 16 Hours Raising Money for UVA Children's Hospital

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UVA's Memorial Gym UVA's Memorial Gym

Students at the University of Virginia danced for 16 hours straight and raised more than $71,000 at a dance marathon benefiting UVA's Children's Hospital.

Saturday, dozens of children battling cancer joined them on the dance floor to show exactly whose lives they're helping to save.

Dance Marathon is a Children's Miracle Network program at more than 150 colleges across the country.

More than 400 students in Charlottesville are celebrating this year's support for the UVA Children's Hospital with 16 hours of dancing.

Two and a half-year-old Raygan Skye Batton took a brief water break before getting back on the dance floor to break it down with her grandma Donna Abshire.

“She loves to dance,” Abshire said.

You'd never know it from all the energy, but Raygan just endured nine straight days of radiation.

“She was diagnosed on May 20 of 2013 with high-risk neuroblastoma with Stage 4, and Stage 4 is as high as you get in cancer,” Abshire said.

Raygan’s family says they are grateful for efforts like the Dance Marathon at UVA’s Memorial Gym that raises money to research childhood cancer.

“I tell you what - we have been blessed beyond blessed by our community,” Abshire said. “I never knew anything about childhood cancer until it hit our family”

Student organizers are dedicating 16 hours of activity for the 16th annual Marathon.

“There is no more special sight than a sight of child who's smiling that was just given new life by the UVA Children's Hospital and knowing we're playing at least a small part in that role,” said UVA Dance Marathon chairman Tommy Reid.

Doctors with the UVA Children's Hospital showed their appreciation with a surprise flash mob performance from all the Miracle Network families.

“It gives us a sense of togetherness and purpose,” said Kimberly Dunsmore, the Chief of Hematology/Oncology at UVA’s Children’s Hospital. “It allows everybody to come in and do something in celebration.”

“Her life is worth more than anything to me,” Abshire said. “This kind of stuff they're raising money to research, childhood cancer, and we need a cure.”

The dance marathon wrapped up at 8:00 Saturday night. The final tally for the event was $71,339.85.

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