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DanceBlue benefits cancer patients

Hundreds of University of Kentucky students are dancing a day away for a good cause.

UK's fifth annual DanceBlue marathon features 24 hours of non-stop dancing to raise money for the UK Pediatric Oncology Clinic and its patients. The marathon began at 7 p.m. Friday in Memorial Coliseum.

The marathon has grown each year. In 2006, the event's first year, 30 student organizations and more than 180 dancers participated, raising more than $123,000. Last year, more than 60 organizations and 500 dancers raised more than $600,000.

About 600 students representing 120 organizations are dancing this year. (The donation totals will be announced in the final hour of the event.)

While DanceBlue's numbers continue to rise, Chairwoman Kelsey Webster said that those who benefit from the event are more important than the event itself.

"What we fund-raise goes up every year, but that's not what it is about," Webster said. "It's about the spirit of these children and their families. They inspire us to do this."

Students participate in DanceBlue by forming teams of five or more. Most teams are from student organizations. The teams sponsor dancers from within their group. Teams are encouraged to hold fund-raisers throughout the year.

Senior Jack Newton and his team from the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity solicited donations at football games, hosted restaurant nights, and wrote letters to parents and alumni.

"It really puts everything in perspective," Newton said. "You might have an exam or pull an all-nighter, but you see everyone going for this cause and it makes you appreciate everything you have."