Students interested in raising money for Dance Marathon 2013 can now do so with Chicago-based charity Danny Did in mind as DM's primary beneficiary. Danny Did raises money and awareness for children with epilepsy and other seizure-related issues. The secondary beneficiary is, as in the past, the Evanston Community Foundation.
The final decision came after hours of discussions over the last two weeks by the new DM executive board. They came to a unanimous decision and informed the organization last week.
“Danny Did” was created by Mike and Mariann Stanton after the death of their 4-year-old son Danny in 2009, according to the organization’s website. Despite his history of seizures, the Stantons never received information from their doctors that his condition could be life threatening. Danny passed away in his sleep from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).
Now, his parents and the Danny Did Foundation work to raise awareness about seizures in children and provide motion sensing devices that work like a fire alarm. Children can wear them at night so their parents can catch a seizure and get medical attention even in the middle of the night.
Members of the exec board said Danny Did’s Chicago-ties will create many local volunteer opportunities for students.
“A great thing is that students can now put a face to the organization,” Public Relations Co-Chair Katie Prentiss said. “They are a strong family who’s fighting that people can relate to well.”
The name of the foundation comes from the last line of Danny's obituary, which read “Please go and enjoy your life. Danny did.”
“We think that is a neat statement that Northwestern students will be able to resonate with,” Public Relations Co-Chair David Harris said.
The epilepsy cause is nothing new for NU, Harris added. In 1975, the first DM beneficiary was the American Epilepsy Association. In 2007, funds benefited Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.
This year’s decision “is going back to our roots,” Harris said.
Because “Danny Did,” created in 2010, is still fairly new, those working for the organization hope DM can be the “extra jolt” to take their foundation to the next level, according to Harris.
In addition to Danny Did, Dance Marathon 2013 will be funding an online resource called SUDEP net and partnering with Dr. Stephan Schuele, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Northwestern University. The site will provide information and other resources to parents with children suffering from seizures.
The announcement comes just as Northwestern students are finishing classes and heading home. Harris and Prentiss said they know many students interested in DM fundraise over the summer.
“People are ready to do fundraising,” Prentiss said. “It’s important they know where the money is going.”