Concordia University Dance Marathon (CUDM), a student-led on-campus organization, is excited to announce that it raised $20,461 at its fifth annual Big Event, bringing its five-year fundraising total to $83,622. Although they had to rethink the event due to COVID-related restrictions, the students’ tireless fundraising efforts allowed this year’s total to rival the last few pre-pandemic years.

The culminating event of the Dance Marathon season, the Big Event is just one small piece of the diligent fundraising that CUDM participates in over the course of the year. The money is raised for the philanthropy department of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and goes toward new books, toys, instruments, the hospital’s annual Prom event, and anything else that gives the children who stay at Lurie’s an escape from “patient life.”

“As a program that has so heavily relied on face-to-face interactions in the past, it was definitely a challenge to get people excited through limited contact and countless emails. But the team God provided could not have been more suited for this challenge!” said Jesse Muehler, junior at Concordia-Chicago and executive director of CUDM. “The mantra that I used throughout the year became ‘Success looks different,’ knowing that we were doing our best to engage and continue to serve the children and families of Lurie Children’s Hospital.”

This year, the award for the top individual fundraiser was renamed the Pela Miracle Maker Award in honor of Antea Pela, a senior who has been an active participant in CUDM since her freshman year. “I joined Dance Marathon’s executive team because I knew there was more to college than just going to class every day. I made a commitment to this club because I saw the opportunity to serve and make a positive difference to the Chicagoland community,” said Pela. “I cannot fathom a better legacy to leave behind as I wrap up the final six weeks of my undergraduate journey.”