Civic News

UD students raised a record-setting $1.89 million for the fight against childhood cancer

The money goes directly to the Wilmington-based B+.

UDance is a student org at UD, and they've raised a ton of money for charity and research groups. (Courtesy photo)

On Sunday, UDance, hosted at the University of Delaware, raised $1,890,337 for The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. That foundation, based in Wilmington, funds childhood cancer research and offers “financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer nationwide.”
You can read more about B+ and their compelling story here. B+ (read “B Positive”) was founded after the 14-year-old Andrew McDonough passed from leukemia, septic shock and childhood cancer complications. It was named for his blood type.
What is UDance? It’s a student-run philanthropic organization at the University of Delaware. Their campaign is a yearlong one, but its most celebrated event is the annual UDance Marathon.
This year’s theme was “Wild About Finding A Cure,” and the 11th annual marathon ran on Sunday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Fundraising occurs throughout the year as students take donations from family, friends, other Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and more. They hold events like 5Ks, flag football tournaments, RSO competitions and street canning (that’s fundraising money on the streets).
The $1.89 million total announced at the conclusion of the marathon this past weekend is the culmination of all the events and fundraising done over the last year. UDance has effectively reset their counter this week, and they’ll start working to raise an even larger sum for 2018.
We spoke with UDance advisor Adam Cantley about the record-setting event. Turns out, the event has broken fundraising records ever since it started.
“Every year they’ve grown,” he told us. “Last year was the 10th UDance. When this started, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Epsilon Phi paired up to do an event. They raised like $8,000. They were splitting that money between their organizations’ philanthropies, it wasn’t going to B+ at the time. In 2009, they partnered with B+.”
“The university is extremely, extremely supportive,” Cantley explained. “We get a lot of support from the B+ foundation and their staff, too.”
“The big thing this year, the exec board specifically, started to focus on more. They rebranded this year. They started conversations to make sure that people talked about why they were raising money,” he said.
They’ve changed up what goes into raising money and creating events, too.
Cantley said the group has four markers for success. In his words, they are:

  1. Raise awareness for the cause.
  2. Experience for University of Delaware students.
  3. Experience for the B+ Heroes, the group the kids are paired with
  4. Raising funds.

“Ideally, we would love to hit all four of those pillars with an event; but, if you can’t hit two, we’re not going to even talk about doing it,” he said.
They started talking about that mandate around three years ago to keep people “goal-focused.” All in the name of long-term sustainability for the charity. If they’re able to raise awareness, provide a great experience and contribute to charity, they’re creating an atmosphere for a lasting philanthropic cause.
It’s working. They’ve gone from roughly $8,000 raised to $1.89 million in 11 years. They’ll aim to break that record next year, too.

Companies: University of Delaware

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