More than 1,300 students teamed up to fight cancer on Saturday and raised $164,157 for the 10th anniversary of Wake ’N Shake, a 12-hour dance marathon to benefit the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund. This year, faculty, staff and alumni were invited to join students in honoring loved ones affected by cancer.
“Wake ‘N Shake is such an important event because it allows students from all over campus to come together and fight for a common cause,” said senior Cat Draper, who co-chaired the event with seniors Anna Morten and Jordan Schuler. “Every student at Wake has been touched by cancer in one way or another.”
More than 50 student organizations, including sports teams, theatre groups and Greek life, participated this year.
“Every facet of campus had representation,” said Morten. “The fact that students are willing to devote an entire Saturday to support cancer research really shows our student body’s commitment to Pro Humanitate.”
Participants stayed on their feet throughout the day and into the night, enjoying lessons in zumba, salsa and swing dancing and performances from student dance crew Momentum. The Thrive “Recharge and Reflect” room, where dancers could write the name of the person they danced for on a wall, gave everyone a chance to remember the event’s purpose.
To make Wake ’N Shake more interactive, student organizers implemented MobileCause, a mobile donation system that allows users to donate any amount by texting into an online form, which can also be sent to the participant’s family and friends. They also used the system to set up crowdfunding pages for each organization. Donations will be accepted throughout the rest of the semester.
This year, the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center lent a “victory bell” to be rung at the end of Wake ’N Shake shifts. Patients at the hospital ring the bell to celebrate the end of their chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“This is much more than just a fundraiser,” said Schuler. “It gives students the opportunity to be a part of something greater than themselves.”
During the final hour of the event, dancers lit up the dark room with glow sticks, lifted up for people in their lives who’ve been affected by cancer.
“You look over the crowd and see every student holding his or her glow stick,” said Morten. “You know that this event is meaningful for everyone.”
More photos from the event can be viewed in this Flickr gallery.