Photos by Morgan Lieberman
Published March 13, 2017

MizzouThon is the largest student-run philanthropy at Mizzou. After months of fundraising, participants hold the main event, a 13.1-hour dance marathon, the second Saturday of each March at MizzouRec. Dancers raise thousands of dollars for Children’s Miracle Network patients and families as well as for research. Originally known as Dance Marathon, the fundraiser began at Indiana University in 1991 to help a young boy named Ryan who had HIV. It has become an annual year-long journey for hundreds of college campuses and high schools across the country to “support the right to be a kid.” Mizzou joined in 1996 and changed the name of the campus tradition to MizzouThon in 2014. This year, MizzouThon raised more than $304,000 with about 1,200 dedicated dancers, each of whom raised at least $100 to participate in the March 11 event. Proceeds go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; the Music Therapy Program; and the Telehealth, Love and Care Program at University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Man dressed in tutu holds a wand over girl in wheelchair's head as other students dance around them.

Tyler Jackman, director of recruitment, plays the role of Tooth Fairy with Miracle Kid Margaret Romph at MizzouThon.

Names written in various colored chalk on a black board

Participants at MizzouThon sign a large chalkboard throughout the day to show their support for the kids as well as to represent the organizations they are dancing with.

Girls in black shirts and red pants bend forward during a dance on a stage

Mizzou Masti performs mid-afternoon.

Boy in wheelchair surrounding by women

Miracle Kid Connor Strope leads a dance circle.

Women pose around girl in wheelchair

Miracle Kid Carli Putnam takes a photo break with her adopt-a-family, Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Paper plate with bright paint and paint brushes

Face painting is a custom at MizzouThon, as are outfit themes that change by the hour. This year included Disney and Hawaiian themes.

Woman painting another woman's face

Junior Anjali Desai and senior Sumidha Katti decorate each other’s faces.

Woman wearing mouse ears with dots painted on her face

Mizzou junior Jordi Stack, a leadership recruitment member for MizzouThon, has been participating in the event since her freshman year. Also a member of Phi Mu sorority, she loves that Children’s Miracle Network is the chapter’s official philanthropy; it gives her the opportunity to recruit sorority members to participate. This year, 100 Phi Mus registered. They won the Miracle Cup trophy.

Man and woman pose in bright colored t-shirts

Juniors Nate Compton and Cassidy Minarik strike a pose at MizzouThon. Both are members of the leadership team and assist with recruitment as well as team morale.

Students watch a performance on a stage

Nonstop entertainment characterizes MizzouThon, from noon Saturday to approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday, when the event ends.

Three students with tie-dyed t-shirts stand together

Louie Scola, a special events leader for MizzouThon, shares a moment with a fellow leadership team member.

A group of women dancing and laughing

MizzouThon dancers laugh at their new choreography while they watch participants on stage.

Woman following along to a dance from an instructor on a stage

A Kappa Delta MizzouThon dancer participates in one of several dance lessons.

Group of girls dancing

Visiting kids enjoy the opportunity to dance with family members as well as college students.

Man operating a computer

Elevate Entertainment Company deejays the main event.

Group of students dancing in strobe light

Strobe lights are turned up and recreation center lights are turned down during the final hours of MizzouThon, leading up to the grand reveal around 1 a.m.

Boy in wheelchair encourages a group of students to dance

Miracle Kid Declan Johnson gets the crowd excited for the last hour of MizzouThon.

Woman holds male child

MizzouThon recruitment leader Hanna Reinkemeyer holds miracle kid Dominic Watkins for a few pump up songs toward the last hour of the event.

Man upside down in the middle of a flip on a stage i

MizzouThon dancer-investment leader Conrad Rohman practices his backflips in front of the dancing crowd minutes before the grand reveal.

Students on a stage hold up signs displaying the amount of money donated.

The combined efforts of thousands of donations got the MizzouThon final fundraising number to more than $304,000, an all-time record. In 2016, the MizzouThon final number was $276,641.11.