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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Courage in Motion dance marathon raises money for Beads of Courage

Ryan Revock
Ryan Revock / Arizona Daily Wildcat Alex Doyle (left), a dance freshman, and Alex Yonkovich (right), a dance sophomore, dance at the Courage in Motion Dance Marathon on Saturday. The marathon benefited the charity Beads of Courage.

People danced away the hours at the Courage in Motion dance marathon Saturday to help raise funds for Beads of Courage.

Beads of Courage, which hosted the 10-hour dance event in the MAC gym in the Student Recreation Center, is a Tucson-based foundation that supports children with serious and complex medical conditions.

Throughout the day there were hourly themes, designated costume contest hours and guest performances. Awards were also given to the top three fundraisers, with $2,800 for first place, $780 in second and $225 in third, said Jean Baruch, the founder of Beads of Courage and a UA alumna. Beads of Courage currently supports more than 30,000 children with its programs.

The donations raised from Courage in Motion will go to Beads of Courage. Registered participants in the dance marathon wore two beads made by glass artists. At the end of the event, one bead remained with the participant and the other was gifted to children receiving treatment at the UA Medical Center Diamond Children’s Center.

“This is an awesome opportunity for us to share our love for dance with everyone else,” said Alex Yonkovich, a dance sophomore. “Dance is something everyone can connect on and we are excited to share that with everyone.”

Erika Colombi, a graduate student in the UA School of Dance, choreographed an original piece, which was performed by several UA dance students during a portion of the dance marathon.

“Every year, this day is important for me because it’s a way to come together,” Colombi said. “It’s hard to be angry and sad while dancing disco.”

Participants who registered to dance on Saturday asked sponsors to support them for hour-long dance increments.

“We start dancing without a care in the world and it’s great to see everyone’s faces light up,” Yonkovich said. “Anyone can understand dance, no matter what disability they have to overcome.”

Beads of Courage nominates a grand marshal each year for Courage in Motion. This year’s grand marshal was 15-year-old Robert Kidder.

Kidder sat in the gym surrounded by thousands of beads that each symbolize an event that occurred during his treatments for biliary atresia, a liver defect. Kidder received a liver transplant at UAMC that saved his life.

Baruch was one of the nurses who used to take care of Kidder and she said Kidder was one of her inspirations for the organization.

“I have thousands of beads, and each one is important,” Kidder said. “My beads help me feel strong and also help others understand what I have been through in my life.”

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