Distinctive Hope: Giving Hearts Find a Way

Dance Marathon is, at its core, a reflection of community and commitment to others. Annually since 2000, hundreds of Hope students working together have raised funds and awareness on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital of Grand Rapids—even during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The March 2020 marathon ran before the region-wide shutdowns began, but no one would have blamed the student organizers for taking a year off in 2021 or even this spring. Considering, though, that the event is held to help children experiencing adversity, taking a pass because times were tough wasn’t an option for the students. They conducted the March 2021 installment remotely, with some 600 participants hoofing it alone or in small groups and connecting via the Internet. This past month, with mitigation requirements eased a bit, they returned to the traditional Dow Center home: 750 strong, albeit in shifts and masked. Along the way, they raised the fourth- and second-highest totals in the marathon’s history, more than $643,000 combined.