Jagathon Celebrates 20 Years
As “this generation fighting for the next,” Riley Dance Marathon participants at colleges and high schools across Indiana raise millions of dollars each year for the children at Riley Hospital. Today, the Riley Dance Marathon program in Indiana is Riley’s fastest-growing fundraising event program, with more than 75 high school and collegiate programs.
IUPUI's Dance Marathon, commonly known as Jagathon, is a 15-hour dance marathon with the purpose of raising both funds and awareness for pediatric research. 2021 marks the 20th anniversary for Jagathon, making it the second oldest Riley DM Program. We recently connected with Megan Massoels, Director of Public Relations for Jagathon to talk about their anniversary.
This year is the 20th anniversary for Jagathon. What is going to make this year special for current participants, alumni and Riley kids?
This is Jagathon’s 20th year of being a dance marathon on IUPUI’s campus, but it’s also during a global pandemic. Despite the uncertainty that surrounded all aspects of life, Jagathon’s leaders knew one thing for certain: Jagathon would press on. Jagathon has built a legacy of providing IUPUI students with meaningful involvement, a family on campus, and the inspiration to make a difference in the lives of kids and families served by Riley Hospital for Children. Although Jagathon 2021 will look different, our mission and heart of the organization will stay the same. In our past 20 years, we have made memories up close. We still can make them from afar! You can expect to see the following events as Jagathon 2021 goes virtual for an all weekend long experience on April 23 through the 25th. We will still be learning the Morale Dance, getting connected to the cause through hearing Riley Stories, staying active in a Virtual Run to Riley, showing off some dance moves in Zumba, and competing for the title of Color Wars Champions. Also, for the first time, we will be sending participants and Riley families boxes with incentives and shirts to make sure our members and supporters still have the best time possible!
Last year Jagathon took place the weekend before the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year your event will be a virtual event. Can you share with us what challenges your team has faced while transitioning to a virtual event for the first time in 20 years?
Instead of trying to directly translate our main event into a virtual setting, we have tried to capture the emotion of the event instead. Jagathon is such a meaningful day for so many people, whether it is a participant, member, alum, or supporter, and we wanted to make sure we still captured that in our event. We can't wait to unite everyone in celebration of our yearlong efforts in the virtual space!
If you could talk to every student on the campus of IUPUI to let them know why they should get involved with Jagathon what would you say?
There truly is something for everyone in dance marathon. Between all of the committees, teams, and volunteer roles, every person has the opportunity to make dance marathon their “home” while on campus. This year, Jagathon’s campaign is #2getherFTK in honor of coming together as an entire organization for our 20th anniversary to support and be there for each other. This is what dance marathon is about. I would encourage each and every student who can get involved to follow this and come #2getherFTK. Whether you want to get involved in a large or small way, you can personally make a difference. There is room for any level of impactful commitment because every dollar raised is a dollar that Riley Hospital for Children did not have before. What could be better than spending time with amazing friends while fundraising and advocating for such an impactful cause as the kids at Riley?
What is your theme for this year and what was the driving force for the theme?
Our theme for this year is Jagathon “Coming 2gether FTK”. We can accomplish anything when we come #2getherFTK. As we recognize Jagathon’s 20 year anniversary, we celebrate how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. So share what you are coming together for this year! #ForTheKids
Jagathon has raised over $2.5 million the past 19 years. Can you tell us what these funds support at Riley Hospital for Children and what your goal is this year?
Jagathon supports pediatric research at the Herman B Wells Center at Riley Hospital for Children. This is so special for Jagathon, because it is right on our campus, but the funds we raise can help lead to impact that can be seen worldwide. The Wells Center does such critical research in childhood illnesses, and we are so proud to support this. In everything we do, we put this mission of supporting and advocating for pediatric research first. If I had to reduce this to a single goal for this year, I would say that our goal would be to do everything we can to make as big of an impact for pediatric research as possible, while supporting our members, participants and Riley families.
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