By Tate Luckey — 

RaiseRED is the University of Louisville’s largest student-run philanthropic organization, supporting the pediatric clinical and medical research efforts at the University of Louisville. Half of the donations from raiseRED directly benefit the research of the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology and Oncology.

The other 50% goes to the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute to provide services for the children and their families going through treatment.

To become a dancer, students had to register online and raise $200 by February 24th. If they raised over $1000, raiseRED would match up to $500 of the amount. Merchandise, including a cool sand-colored “Louisville, Kentucky” hoodie and “Kids Can’t Wait” beanies, can also be bought online here.

What’s Different This Year

Executive Director DeAsia King described how the event differs from last year. “Due to COVID-19, raiseRED was more of a hybrid format – split across the week for around 3 hours every day, with a virtual option too. Now we’re back in person – 18 hours total, meaning we start at 6 pm on Friday, up until the total reveal at 12 pm on that Saturday,” she said. 

Photo: raisered.org

Drew Grimm, one of the two programming directors for raiseRED and junior chemical engineering major, detailed some of the more exciting events planned.

We have three exciting Themed Hours planned for this year’s marathon including a “University of Louisville Athletics Hour” where our dancers and kids all dress up in jerseys and athletics gear to play dodgeball, sing Karaoke, and participate in trivia! We also have a “Pajama Party Hour“, where, similarly, our dancers will dress in their PJs while they participate in the Price is Right, learn the Line Dance, and have their midnight snack! Finally, we have our “Through the Decades Hour,” which is presented by UPS where dancers will wear their best 70s, 80s or 90s gear and rock out to some decades music, play laser tag, volleyball, corn hole and more.” 

Additionally, Alani Nu is sponsoring a silent disco, and several university representatives, clinic workers and doctors will share their connection with raiseRED and how our organization has impacted them through the 18 hours. 

The Impact

Photo: raiseRED.org

While Grimm has only been to one marathon, the impact the experience had on him was immense. “I loved watching the smiles on these kids’ faces as they danced and sang their hearts out during the Kid Talent Show! It was during this moment that I knew I had to get more involved in this organization. I now have 2 Cardinal Crew buddies and they are my pride and joy and my motivation for all the work I put into this organization each day!”

For fundraising coordinator Katie Hayden, counting up the total during the Week of Hope campaign with Valerie Tran, the finance director, was super exciting. “We raised over 50k,” she said. King ended up starting a smaller version of the marathon at Charlestown High School, her alma mater, alongside her two sisters. “Helping plant the seed there, to me, is very fulfilling,” she said. 

RaiseRED has raised over $3 million in the past 7 years. If you’d like to learn more and donate, you can do so here.

File Photos // raiseRED // 

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