raiseRED to host virtual dance marathon in February Thursday, Jan 21 2021 

By Grace Welsh —

The University of Louisville’s largest student-led philanthropic event is looking a little different this year. For the first time ever, raiseRED will be held completely virtually in order to remain within COVID-19 guidelines.

Traditionally an 18-hour dance marathon, the event will be broken up over six days throughout the week of Feb. 15. Each day’s event will consist of guest speakers and interactive events like trivia and games. The week concludes on Saturday, Feb. 20, when a closing ceremony will be held, during which, the organization will reveal of the amount of money raised.

Last year, raiseRED was able to raise over $690,000 to benefit pediatric cancer research.

raiseRED has touched the hearts of many in the last five years, raising over 3 million dollars for Norton’s Cancer Institute and U of L’s School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. raiseRED also initiates mentorship programs between students and children, which allows students to make more of a direct and long-lasting impact on the families. According to the raiseRED website, the money goes directly towards funding those departments and the families in need.

“raiseRED, in my opinion, is the single most important organization tied to U of L,” said Team Leader Manu Nair. Nair is one of the hundreds of U of L students who have been working for the past year to ensure successful fundraising this year.

“Unless you have personally gone through this struggle, people don’t know how hard it can be to watch your child battle cancer,” Nair said. “We are fighting for them as they already have an immense battle to fight themselves.”

Ashley Correl, is a freshman who is participating in the event for the first time. “I can already feel that everyone is so excited to get involved. It inspires so many others to join in on raising money,” she said.

raiseRED participants can still join on behalf of an organization (such as athletics, the Indian Student Association, Porter Scholars, ELSB, Greek life) or they can join on an individual basis.

Students who raise $200 by Feb. 15 will be paired with a team of other dancers and given the opportunity to participate in interactive events. Fundraising requires a bit of creativity, with many members doing things like social media games and clothing/bake sales.

While being virtual may hinder some interpersonal connections, raiseRED is about helping those in need, Ruby Young, raiseRed’s student outreach coordinator, said.

“I think this year more than ever, people will realize how much help these kids and their families need. COVID-19 impacted them in ways we could never imagine.”

For more information on how you can make a difference, visit the raiseRED Facebook page or their Instagram.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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RaiseRED surpasses fundraising goal in their “Week of $20k” Tuesday, Nov 24 2020 

By Katie Volpentesta —

On Nov. 21, RaiseRED concluded their annual “Week of $20k,” a week full of virtual events to encourage fundraising and registration for the 2021 raiseRED Dance Marathon. The members of raiseRED’s executive board revealed via social media that dancers and committee members had surpassed this goal, raising $26,591.47.

RaiseRED is a year long fundraising effort that culminates in an 18-hour dance marathon, with all proceeds benefiting the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute and the U of L Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology. In raiseRED’s five year history at U of L, over 3 million dollars has been raised for pediatric cancer and blood disease patient care and research.

While nothing is set in stone regarding the layout of the 2021 dance marathon, which takes place on February 26, raiseRED is working harder than ever to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer and blood disease.

During the last week, raiseRED organized a blood drive in the Red Barn, a virtual Family Feud event, a virtual talent show and a virtual 1.8 mile run.

In previous years, raiseRED was able to get the attention of new dancers during in-person events and tabling around campus, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events and outreach have been moved online.

“[We were] trying to make these events still engaging,” Benny Gerdes, raiseRED’s internal projects coordinator, said. “With the talent show, we wanted to make sure it was concise and appealing, and with facilitating the Family Feud groups, we had to make sure sure everyone was on board virtually since we had so many games going on at once.”

While the move to virtual events this week came with challenges, there were silver linings.

“I got a chance to watch alongside a bunch of people and talk in the GroupMe,” said Trey Breen, raiseRED’s analytics coordinator. “We also invited cardinal buddies—there was an opportunity for the kids that we support to watch and feel like they’re a part of the organization as well, and it’s fun for the kids to interact with the students.”

Even with all of the uncertainty surrounding February’s marathon, raiseRED’s executive board and committee looks forward to working alongside the dancers to raise as much money as possible and strengthen the community of support for the kids.

“I think what I look forward to the most is the sense of community again. I think everyone kind of needs a win during this pandemic and year,” Breen said.

To keep up with raiseRED or to learn more about registering and fundraising, follow @raisered_uofl on Instagram and Twitter.

Photo by Katie Volpentesta // The Louisville Cardinal

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