BOZEMAN – Montana State University students have organized the state’s first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a six-hour event to raise money for the Shodair Hospital in Helena.

The event will start at noon on March 3 in Ballroom A of the Strand Union Building. It will include dancing, games, storytelling, raffles and more. Dancers are not asked to dance on stage or perform, but they are asked to participate in the day’s activities to show support for the children and families of Shodair Hospital, said Caitlin Holzer, the Montana Miracle Network Dance Marathon co-organizer and an MSU psychology student.

Montana Miracle Network Dance Marathon at Montana State is the student group organizing the event. All funds raised will go directly toward supporting and improving the services Shodair Hospital provides to children struggling with mental illness and genetic disorders, organizers said. Shodair is the only public facility in the state to provide acute and residential psychiatric care for children, and its medical genetic services which includes diagnostic evaluation, care coordination and risk assessment attract patients from across Montana.

“Shodair Hospital is working to make health care more accessible and that’s exactly why what they offer is so significant,” Holzer said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Montana had the highest number of suicides per capita in the nation in 2017. With challenges like travel time and costs to reach clinics and hospitals, many Montanans are unable to receive the life-changing services they need, Holzer added.

“It is more important now than ever before to make sure people are able to get the help they need,” Holzer said. “We want people to come together to not only show support and solidarity to those who are struggling but also to take small steps to improve the quality and access to health care in Montana.”

Participants must register before the day of the marathon; registrations will not be accepted at the door. Priority registration ends Feb. 24. Participants are strongly encouraged to sign up early and to fundraise for Shodair Hospital leading up to the event. Participants may register online HERE.

According to its website, Miracle Network Dance Marathon holds events nationwide to benefit the nonprofit Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Each year dance marathon events take place on more than 350 campuses in 47 states. The organization has raised more than $250 million for children and their families across North America.

- MSU News Service -