High School Marathon Dancers Raise Almost $500k
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Hundreds of high schoolers in New York State danced for more than 24 hours over the weekend. They raised money for a combination of people needing medical care, car accident survivors and others who need a helping hand. (March 1)


SHOTLIST:1) Students on dance floor2) Pony-tailed girl dancing 3) Girl hand jive4) SOUNDBITE: Pat Fish, Marathon Dancer' From a young age here, you want to be a marathon dancer and you want to help those people in need.5) Exterior: Sign wishing dancers luck6) Exterior: mill in South Glens Falls7) SOUNDBITE: Kate LaFoy / Mother of Turner Syndrome Patient (talking about her daughter Alessandra, husband James holding Alessandra)' She was born with Turner Syndrome, which only affects females, and it affects one in 25-hundred live births. She only had a one-to-two percent chance to survive to birth to birth, so it's a miracle that she's even here with us today.8) Conga line9) Squid head dancer10) SOUNDBITE: Carly Weller/Marathon Dancer'The idea that your feet are tired or your legs are sore is absolutely nothing compared to what they're going through so you're motivated to just keep going and you know you're doing something really good.11) Dance scene12) Sign with total raised with confetti falling13) Hugs after marathon14) SOUNDBITE: Carly Weller / Marathon DancerPhysically I'm exhausted. Emotionally I'm exhausted. But I've never been this happy in my life, I mean, we kicked our total from last year in the butt by almost 100-thousand dollars. I'm in my senior year so I'll never get to do this again so I couldn't think of a better way of finishing up my high school career as a marathon dancer.15) glow stick danceSTORYLINE:BC-NY--The Longest DanceDough step: Small NY high school with big heart raises $489K for charity with marathon danceSOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. _ The 710 dancers from South Glens Falls High School danced for more than a day: conga lines, Gangnam Style giddy-ups, hand jives, Harlem Shakes. Then the flushed and weary teens showed why this is a dance marathon with a difference.Students cleared a path for a group who walked or were wheeled in front of the gym stage. One by one _ a woman battling cancer in a white stocking cap, mothers of ailing children, car crash survivors _ they thanked to the dancers who just raised almost $500,000 to help them."When a community comes together to help lift financial stress, which allows a child to get the proper care and have the best chance in life, that's priceless," said Kate LaFoy, whose 15-month-old daughter Alessandra has Turner syndrome, a genetic condition. LaFoy's voice was choked. "You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? You're part of our village now. We are forever grateful."South Glens Falls High School students donated the sum to LaFoy and 39 other recipients by dancing around the clock this weekend as part of an annual event in this small, weathered village just south of the Adirondacks. Begun in 1978, the age of turntables and disco, the dance marathon has metamorphosed into a monster event consuming not only the students, but the community. Locals _ many who fondly remember their own dancing days _ help direct traffic, donate goods for auction or offer to paint faces to raise money. And they open their wallets. The record $489,716 taken in this weekend easily topped the $395,352 collected last year, keeping up a trend of growing tallies."You're raised in the South Glens Falls community, you're expected to dance in the marathon dance," said senior Carly Weller. "And after you do it once, you're hooked." This dance marathon is different from the old endurance contests in which the last exhausted couple on the floor wins. The teen dancers get two hours to sleep and some other breaks from Friday night to Saturday night. But it's still grueling. "Definitely sleep during sleep break, drink lots of water, deodorant," said senior Blake Snyder. "Deodorant is key. And change your socks every time you can because if your feet are comfortable, you're comfortable."Students get by not only on adrenaline, but the knowledge that that are contributing to something larger, said art teacher Tom Myott, an advisor for the marathon. Myott said the marathon's mission has been consistent since he was a student dancer three decades ago. Now it's his daughter's turn: freshman Mackenzie Myott danced her first marathon this weekend.The 40 recipents chosen by students this year include children and adults fighting potentially fatal illnesses, a family recovering after a house fire and a local food pantry. "The money will come in very handy," said Kristina Lemery, whose 4-year-old son Lukas has a brain tumor. "The bills are still coming in the mail and it seems that it's never ending."As Lukas bounced around a high school room set aside for recipients, Lemery explained that surgery could not remove her boy's tumor and that he is blind in one eye."The tumor might grow back, he might need another surgery. He might need chemo. Right now it's day by day ... So it's really nice that in such hard times, there's something joyful." Lemery was among the recipents who lined up in front of the gym to tank the dancers at the end of the marathon Saturday night. The thanks were as profuse as the tears. Then the grand total was announced and the dance was over. Dancers melted into each other's arms."Physically I'm exhausted, emotionally I'm exhausted," Weller said, "but I've never been as happy in my life. "(****END****)