Since it’s beginning at Penn State in 1973, Dance Marathon has become an organization beyond what anyone would have ever imagined.

The event has been an annual celebration at UT since 1995 and is the largest student-run philanthropy event on campus. Sarah Murphree, a junior head of Community Outreach for Dance Marathon, said it’s an experience students will never forget.

“We work hard to raise funds all throughout the year through various fundraisers,” Murphree said. “We have had events (this year) such as a 5k, band party and canning at basketball games.”

A 14-hour event, Dance Marathon raises money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Here at UT, Dance Marathon raises money for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, literally in most of the students’ backyards on 21st Street and Clinch Avenue. The hospital never turns away a patient’s medical need regardless of an inability to pay.

“At this annual event, UT students give a day of their lives for the life of a child,” Taylor Gautier, Dance Marathon’s vice president, said. “Dancers are required to be in constant movement and on their feet for the main event for a reason.

“We do this to honor the patients who have to stay up, sometimes all night, in order to receive treatments. These treatments are painful, long and exhausting on their bodies, and this is the reason why we stay up and are active. We do it for those who can’t. Although it is exhausting, the small foot pain we are feeling is nothing compared to what the children who fight to live are facing, so we keep dancing.”

Natalie Williams, president of Dance Marathon, said often students are so engrossed in their schedules that they forget community service.

“By participating in Dance Marathon you are enriching not only the Knoxville community but our neighborhood,” Williams said. “As college students, it is easy for us to get caught up in tests and quizzes, and football and basketball games, but we forget that right next to our campus is a hospital where children are fighting for their lives every day.”

Besides just dancing all day, there are other events during Dance Marathon.

“This year we are having four color teams compete in contests like “minute to win it” and “just dance,” and both are going to be set up again this year,” Gautier said.

Even if you don’t like to dance, you can support Dance Marathon and still have fun at the event.

“In addition to the competitions, we have numerous live acts which include DJs to cover bands, and we are also going to be featuring some awesome dance instructors (belly dance, Zumba, etc.),” Gautier said. “The event is catered by restaurants around town during the three-meal rotations throughout the night.”

Dance Marathon is March 2 and 3 and is $35.