Dancing the night away for charity

Delaware County News Network | January 18, 2013

The Delaware County News Network published an article about Holy Cross' Dance Marathon for the Foundation.

While many students pull at least one "all-nighter” during their college years, Harry Crimi and his College of the Holy Cross classmates will be hitting the dance floor and not the books.

Crimi, a 2011 Devon Prep graduate, is a sophomore at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he serves on the steering committee for the college’s second annual Dance Marathon. The 12-hour dance event, which will be from Jan. 26-27, raises money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.

“It’s a very rewarding experience. It’s a fun way to make a big difference,” says Crimi of Havertown.

Last year, the dancers raised $23,860 and hope to reach $30,000 this year.

“We have about 210 dancers, which is more than last year. We also have between 20-30 ‘moralers’ who are people who dance for four hours,” says Crimi, a double major in classics and psychology.

Every dancer receives a souvenir bag with a T-shirt along with memorabilia from over the decades.

“Every hour we play a different theme of music, from the 20s, 30s and so on. In their bags, the dancers will find memorabilia or gifts from those eras,” he says.

Crimi, who worked on his high school yearbook, designed the T-shirts which feature the evolution of dance over the years.

“The shirts are a playoff of the ‘Evolution of Man,’ “ he says.

To keep the dancers on their feet, each participant receives a survival guide along with fresh food every two hours.

“The steering committee does a good job caring for the dancers’ needs. There’s also an EMT right next to dancers in case anyone feels lightheaded,” he says.

Each student who participates has to donate at least $100. After about eight hours into the marathon, committee members hand motivational notes to the dancers from their family and friends.

“We also have a half-hour session where there’s no music playing and we have a memorial to the cause. It’s a powerful moment and it reminds us why we’re doing this,” he says.
As part of education and outreach, participants hear stories from those diagnosed with HIV.

The hour before the finale, the “power hour,” the steering committee arrives onstage to announce the donation total.

“Everyone is just screaming and cheering,” he says.

For Crimi, the dance marathon is a great way to raise funds for a worthy cause.

“The steering committee went on a retreat last October, and we had to write the reason why we were doing this. Someone wrote, ‘I dance because to be a part of something greater than myself’ and another person wrote, ‘I dance for those who can’t,’ “ he says.