UDance 2023 will be held April 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

7,000 to attend UDance, raise $$$ for childhood cancer

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

UDance 2023 will be held April 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

UDance 2023 will be held April 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

About 7,000 University of Delaware students are expected to hit the dance floor for 12 hours later this month to try to raise at least $1.8 million for children fighting cancer. 

“It’s just really incredible to see how the entire University of Delaware community comes together for such a great cause,” said senior Sabrina Schipper. 

Schipper is the digital communications director for UDance 2023, a 12-hour dance marathon benefiting the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. That Wilmington-based national charity focuses on helping children with cancer through financial assistance, childhood cancer research, awareness and spreading positivity.

The foundation is named for Andrew McDonough, who battled leukemia, septic shock and complications of childhood cancer for 167 days before passing away on July 14, 2007, at the age of 14. 

His B+ blood type became his family and friends’ motto throughout his fight against childhood cancer – to “Be Positive.”

UDance, now in its 18th year, has raised over $16.5 million for B+.

This year’s marathon will be held Sunday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark. 

In addition to the thousands of UD students, 30 B+ heroes – children who are currently fighting and have fought cancer –  will be in attendance. 

“Not only are we raising so much money and getting all these organizations to come together for raising money and making a difference in these children’s lives,” Schipper said, “but we also are able to directly work with the B+ heroes so we can see the children and families we’re helping and provide them emotional support.”

UDance is the fifth-largest college dance marathon in the country, according to the university. 

It’s modeled after Penn State University’s THON, a popular all-night dance marathon for charity that many universities and high schools in the country have adopted some version of. 

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“Joe McDonough, Andrew’s father, worked with students and staff involved with THON at Penn State to learn how to do this and he spent a lot of time really connecting all the different Greek organizations at UD to the cause,” said Carly Bergstein, executive director for the B+ Foundation.

After everyone starts dancing at 9 a.m., there’s the B+ hero hour from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., the B+ hero talent show from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the rave hour from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the total fundraising reveal at 9:05 p.m.  

The hero hour is when all 30 B+ are introduced to the crowd on stage.

“We hype them up, get some excitement for them and help them regain that fun of being a kid,” Schipper said. 

In the talent show, the 30 heroes, sometimes joined by their family members or friends, put on performances. 

“That is always a lot of fun,” Schipper said. “I would say one I’m looking forward to is B+ hero Darren who always puts on the most stellar performance every year, so that’s definitely top of my excitement list for this year.”

Senior Caroline Stevenson, who is a co-executive director for UDance 2023, said those two hours are really important to the school and highlight the importance of UD’s fundraising efforts.

The crowd really gets to let loose in the rave hour, she said. 

“Everyone really looks forward to 8 p.m.,” she said. “It’s really when the entire student body comes out to UDance and just dances their hearts out for that last hour of the dance marathon leading up to the revelation of the money we raised, which is just a huge celebration at the end of the night.”

The care, concern and support of the children and parents who often speak on stage about their child’s journey spreads through the arena, she said.

“You can’t really sum it up into words,” she said. “You almost have to be there and just feel it. It’s really that powerful.”

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