Rival schools collaborate to raise awareness for Children’s Miracle Network


Christian Postma, brain cancer survivor, runs down Main Street in The Union as students clap in support for the opening ceremony for State-A-Thon April 2, 2019. Kyle Schiltz, State-A-Thon morale co-chair, runs behind him.

Sammi Schrag, News Editor

For the first time in history, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota are coming together to host a virtual dance marathon as a fundraiser for Sanford Children’s Miracle Network on Saturday, April 18.

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. on the South Dakota Virtual Dance Marathon’s event page on Facebook. Throughout the day, students will raise as much money as possible until 6 p.m., when the total amount raised will be announced.

But, instead of a monetary goal for the event, their focus is to raise awareness.

“These children can’t wait for a cure, for the curve to flatten or for an economic boost,” said Gabbie Gervais, State A Thon’s executive director. “They are still fighting their own battles and need support now more than ever.” 

The virtual day will consist of dance routine videos, craft ideas, a live yoga class, a Q&A with Children’s Miracle Network families and lots of fundraising.

A full schedule of events can be found on the SDSU State A Thon Facebook page.

“Because all of our marathon fundraisers were canceled due to COVID-19, we decided to come together to support a cause that matters so much to all of us,” said Bailey Pickering, State A Thon’s entertainment chair.

Augustana University and Brandon Valley High School will also be participating.

“I think there is a lot of hope for the future seeing over 40 college students from rival schools band together to plan an entirely new event over Zoom calls,” Gervais said.

People will be able to donate by going to SDSU State A Thon on Facebook and clicking the blue “sign up” button which will redirect the user to their fundraising page where they can click “Donate to this Event”.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Sanford Castle of Care. Last year State A Thon raised almost $180,000.

In a time of such uncertainty, one thing is evident. 

“South Dakota is united in fighting for the next generation of Jackrabbits and Coyotes,” Gervais said.