The effort raises donations from multiple events throughout the year and from the participation of more than 600 students and alumni during Dakotathon. They make up dancers, morale captains, the executive board, logistics and the alumni team. Many students sign up to become a dancer as a freshman and graduate to higher involvement during their four years at the University of South Dakota.

This year’s event starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and runs through Sunday morning on campus and around Vermillion. Among the activities: dancing and performances from musicians, a hypnotist, lip syncs, dueling pianos and a dance rave. There are also stories shared from the miracle children and their families about their struggles and how they have overcome them.

Junior Audrey Truhe started her Dakotathon experience after transferring to USD her sophomore year and this year is overall co-chair with Joey Snyder.

“I wanted to be involved just to celebrate the fight for a child's life and I think it is so awesome that the Castle of Care can help families pay for the big things even down to the small things,” said Truhe. “When the families share their story it puts it into perspective of how important Dakotathon actually is.”

This year the executive team increased its fundraising goal to $90,000 from last year’s $84,453. Truhe said she believes the organization is on track to beat the goal, largely because of the great relationship between USD and Vermillion.

“I think that Dakotathon is important to the two communities because they are able to see the impact,” she said. “Students feel what the miracle children have been going through and the Vermillion community wants to be part of the cause because what if there was a child in their community that became affected? Everyone wants to come together for the greater cause.”

To donate to Dakotathon and Children’s Miracle Network or to participate in the event, email

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