Students dance to fight cancer

By and

While Sydney Osmun danced and stayed awake for over 26.2 hours last weekend to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, her father continued fighting the deadly disease.

“My dad is my best friend in the entire world, and he’s been going through some pretty amazing treatments,” said Osmun, a sophomore in marketing.

Both of her parents have been or are being treated for cancer, and Osmun herself is a cancer survivor. She was one of more than 100 U students participating in the Rock the U dance marathon that raised more than $70,500 for the foundation.

The Union was filled with dancers from 7 p.m. Friday night to 9:12 p.m. the next day. The planning committee used every trick to keep the students motivated and healthy through the long hours on their feet.

“The dancers have been amazing this year,” said Chelsea Baugh, director of Rock the U. “Almost all of our dancers have personally known someone who has had cancer, and most of them…stayed the entire time.”

Rock the U was started last year and raised close to $94,000 for the foundation — a surprisingly large amount for a college dance marathon, Baugh said.

Dancers were required to raise a minimum of $200 to participate in the event.

“The money wasn’t as difficult to raise as I thought it would be, and I’m so glad I participated this year,” Alison Kunz said. Kunz, a sophomore in communication and psychology, has had three family members with cancer, one of whom died from it years ago.

Many dancers found it exhausting to stay up and on their feet all of Friday and Saturday but managed to trudge along till the evening.

“You have to remember that this is just one day,” Kunz said. “Cancer patients can’t just go home after one day — this is every day for them.”

The planning committee worked hard to keep morale high for students who began dragging their feet during periods of the night, Baugh said. Cancer victims came to speak to the students and performers such as Alex Boye visited. The committee planned other activities and competitions throughout the night.

“We held relay races, taught line dancing and had mystery munchies competitions where groups of five had to devour a bag of twinkies, beef jerky and oranges before any other team,” Baugh said.

Prizes were awarded throughout the night for the various competitions, and a grand prize was awarded to the student who raised the most money. Students were required to raise $200 to participate in the event, but Dhiraj Chand walked away with a “Rock Band” video game for raising more than $800 in donations.

Rock the U also crowned a king and a queen for being the most enthusiastic during the event.

Tyler Otto, a junior in international studies, said he’s excited to participate in Rock the U next year.

“I even think I could go for another couple of hours,” Tyler said toward the end of the marathon. “I’m not sure too many students want that, though — we’re all excited for it to end.”

Besides student donations, Rock the U brought in a $25,000 donation from Macy’s.

Even though the event raised more money last year than this year, Baugh was pleased with the students’ efforts.

“This was still a success, and I’m happy that so many students participated,” Baugh said. “Hopefully there will be more participants next year.”

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