Dancing to the Rescue


Madelyn Knight

Sophomore Hollynd Givens claps and dances in a crowd. This was Givens’s first year on the RDM committee.

Madelyn Knight and Madeline Steward

For children all over Indiana, Riley Children’s Hospital is more than just a reason to host a  dance marathon. It’s a place where kids of all ages can receive treatment for a wide variety of conditions. Riley Hospital is known for helping kids not only medically but also financially. SHS is able to contribute funds to Riley Hospital with the annual Riley Dance Marathon, RDM. In this way, SHS assists many patients and families receive the help and care they need.

For junior Kierston Whitlock, RDM is more than just a chance to help kids and have fun, it hits a little closer to home. Whitlock is a part of the RDM committee, but she was once a Riley patient herself because of stomach problems. She says that Riley Hospital takes the time to make sure their patients feel comfortable. Whether they have a minor or a major issue, Whitlock appreciates how every patient is treated with respect and given the comfortability they need at that time. Being a part of RDM is her way to give back and help other kids who are in the same position she once was.

“The purpose of RDM is to help raise money to help all the kids that are in need at Riley,” Whitlock said. “…it’s hard to be a kid when you are stuck in a bed all day”

Similarly, junior Calvin Bright says Riley Hospital will always be a place that made him feel comfortable. In elementary school, Bright was diagnosed with Seer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer in the lymph nodes.

Although he will never forget the fear that came with his diagnosis, he’ll always remember how his nurse used to make jokes in order to make him feel better. Riley was not just a hospital to him, it was a place where he felt protected and safe.

“They really try to make you feel comfortable there, even though it is not a really comfortable situation,” Bright said.

These are the kind of situations many Riley patients experience. RDM encourage a supportive atmosphere and creates funding to help support families and  children everyday. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised from  RDM go toward research support at Riley for several conditions such as diabetes, autism, cardiovascular conditions and a great deal more. The other 25 percent goes towards clinical programming at Riley. With this money, things like surgery are able to be funded, especially for the children and parents who can’t afford it.

SHS social worker and RDM sponsor Jorie Depalma says a goal is set every year to raise more money than in prior years. Last year, SHS raised $50,000 between the high school dance marathon and the mini-marathon held at SMS. This year at SHS was able to raise $53,253.74.