History

In 1997, a student from Raleigh came to UNC-Chapel Hill with the dream of starting a dance marathon. Having witnessed the powerful impact of Pennsylvania State University’s 46-hour dance marathon on the dancers, spectators, patients and families involved with it, Michael Bucy was inspired to fill UNC-CH’s void for a large student-run fundraiser.

The first dance marathon at UNC-CH took place in February 1999, with about 75 dancers raising $40,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital. It was a small start, but Bucy had a huge vision for the future.

Fourteen years later, Bucy’s dream has grown into UNC Dance Marathon, which through the years has raised more than $3.3 million for N.C. Children’s Hospital and now involves about 2,000 students each year and dozens of community businesses.

With a mission “to unite the University, community and state in fostering emotional and financial support that improves the quality of life for the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital,” UNC-DM has stayed true to Bucy’s original vision, even through enormous growth.

“If your child gets ill, the last thing you should have to worry about is the overwhelming financial burden,” Bucy said. “You should be able to focus your time and attention on caring for your child.”


1999:

  • Raised more than $40,000 for the kids
  • Featured more than 100 dancers and 200 volunteers
  • Utilized efforts of 71 UNC-CH campus organizations



2000:

  • Increased fundraising total to more than $70,000
  • Established the For the Kids Fund, allowing the UNC Dance Marathon to give 100%
    of fundraising total to N.C. Children’s Hospital
  • Featured more than 150 dancers and 250 volunteers
  • Fundraising efforts all year from more than 100 campus organizations
  • Started the UNC Dance Marathon Silent Auction, raising over $10,000 for the kids



2001:

  • Donated more than $100,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 400 dancers, 300 volunteers, and more than 1,000 spectators
  • Surprise appearance by UNC alumnus and Olympic Gold Medalist Mia Hamm, who
    thanked the dancers for their commitment to the hospital
  • Sponsored by Title Sponsor Chick-Fil-A at University Mall and 
    Gold Ram Sponsor McAlister’s Deli
  • Endorsed by Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf, who proclaimed 
    February 18-23 Dance Marathon Week in Chapel Hill



2002:


  • Donated more than $120,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 550 dancers and 400 volunteers and moralers
  • Live performances from more than 25 student groups
  • Sponsored by Platinum sponsor Chic-Fil-A and Gold Sponsors McAlister’s Deli,
    Durham Americans Baseball Club, UNC Hospitals Printing, The Carolina Inn
    and Carolina Dining Services



2003:


  • Donated more than $167,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 550 dancers and 300 volunteers
  • Established the Benefit Reception and Silent Auction to bring community members
    together in support of N.C. Children’s Hospital
  • Started new fundraising efforts that included local donation boxes, 
    a Powder-Puff Tournament, a Faculty Event at sponsor West End Wine Bar
  • Increased student volunteer activity in the hospital with the
    Neo-Natal Unit Reunion, UNC hospital’s Radiothon, and a Christmas Toy Drive


2004:


  • Donated more than $170,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 500 dancers and 300 volunteers
  • Appearance by UNC Head Basketball Coach Roy Williams at Marathon
  • Special Performance by Legendary Beach Music Band The Embers



2005:

  • Donated more than $184,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 600 dancers and 400 volunteers and moralers
  • Enhanced “Battle of the Bands” fundraiser, with winning band scoring
    an hour onstage at the UNC Dance Marathon in February
  • Introduced “Turn It Blue” campaign, selling “Turn it Blue” wristbands
    to UNC fans all over the country



2006:

  • Donated more than $200,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 750 dancers and 450 volunteers and moralers
  • Supported by many new corporate sponsors, including
    Bojangles, the title sponsor
  • Began new partnerships with the Cardiac Care Center and the
    Hematology-Oncology divisions of N.C. Children’s Hospital
  • Reached a fund-raising total of more than $1 million over 8 years



2007:

  • Donated more than $236,000 to the For the Kids Fund
  • Featured more than 800 dancers and 600 volunteers and moralers
  • Gained continuing support from the surrounding community, 
    including Carrabba's our 2007 Title Sponsor
  • Extended our divisional partnerships to include the 
    Newborn Critical Care Center within the Division of Neonatal Medicine
  • Increased our fundraising total to more than $1.3 million



2008:

  • Celebrated our 10th anniversary with returning
    Overall Committee alumni
  • Surprise appearance by comedian Will Ferrell
  • Donated more than $300,000 to N.C. Children’s Hospital



2009:


  • Donated more than $394,000 to the hospital
  • Started a relationship with divisions at N.C. Children’s Hospital
    through grants such as N.C. Children’s Center for Clinical Excellence, 
    focused on improving pediatric critical care.



2010:


  • Had 1,600 students pledge to dance in the 12th UNC Dance Marathon
  • Established the kid co-captain program, with 9 kids helping lead the 24 dancer teams
  • Donated more than $421,000 to the hospital, increasing our fundraising total to 
    more than $2.4 million.



2011:

  • Had 1,600 students pledge to dance, and 500 moralers and volunteers
  • Had 24 kid co-captains
  • Introduced merchandise and text-to-donate programs
  • Raised more than $436,000 for N.C. Children’s Hospital for a total of 
    more than $2.8 million.

2012:

  • A record 2,000 students signed up to dance
  • Dancers got to know and interact with 22 or 25 kid co-captains through videos and blogs
  • Started N.C. Children's Hospital's first Pediatric Palliative Care Program
  • Hosted the 10th annual Benefit Reception
  • Raised more than $483,000 for patients and families at N.C. Children's Hospital for a total of more than $3.3 million