New York Dance Marathon 2017 raises $604,454 to fight pediatric cancer

“The NYU students have not only helped us save lives, but they have changed lives…”

The NYU community came together yesterday at the Kimmel Center for University Life to dance for 12 hours straight to raise money for the B+ Foundation.

The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation honors the life of Andrew McDonough, who lost his battle to Leukemia at the age of 14. Andrew’s blood type, B+, quickly became a mantra for his friends and family, to in fact always be positive. This foundation helps provide financial and emotional support to families afflicted with pediatric cancer nationwide as well as funding to childhood cancer research.

The Program Director for the B+ Foundation, Carly Bergstein, attended the event alongside founder, Joe McDonough, and danced for all 12 hours. "The NYU students have not only helped us save lives, but they have changed lives," Bergstein said. "With every event, every donation e-mail sent, every canning trip, they show families that someone cares about them. We could not appreciate their support more!"

This year marks the five year anniversary for the school wide event and as the target amount of money to raise grows each year, NYU continually not only meets its goals, but also exceeds them. The Greek community has worked for over six months to raise money for the cause. This year's methods got creative: various bake sales, canning on the street to raise awareness and get extra change, fundraising individually, Venmo challenges and race to raise, among others.

Saturday kicked off with silent disco and of course, dancing. Every hour on the hour, participants performed the choreographed line dance and each hour welcomed a different theme and new food sponsored by various locations. First-time attendee and freshman Taylor Kallman said "over the past few months when I was sending a bunch of e-mails I never realized the impact I was making by raising $1,700 because I didn't know what to expect at this event. When I saw all the B+ heroes who have and continue to fight their battles against pediatric cancer on stage dancing their hearts out, it made every e-mail sent and every footstep on the floor well worth it."

This year's top fundraiser award went to the Panhellenic organization, Alpha Epsilon Phi (pictured below), for the fifth year in a row, which raised just over $166,000.00, the largest donation in B+ history! Each NYDM team has a captain that leads them in their fundraising for the year and Alpha Epsilon Phi's team captain was Kaitlyn Julian. "I have never been more proud to be a part of Alpha Epsilon Phi. I cannot put into words how immensely amazing it feels to have worked so hard for a goal and to have achieved it together as sisters," Julian said. "Because of our efforts this past year and thanks to an anonymous donor who matched every dollar we raised, we helped more than 150 families going through the absolute unimaginable. It warms my heart to have been able to be a part of this history and to be a part of such a strong sisterhood; I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. FTK (for the kids), always."

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Alpha Epsilon Phi's dancers, morale chairs, team captain, and alumni

Each and every day, 46 sets of parents are told their child has cancer. Thank you to the NYU students who helped the B+ Foundation alleviate medical expenses, utility bills, rent, and other financial struggles for not only 46 families, but hundreds. Every dollar. Every day. For the kids.