WKU’s eighth-annual Dance Big Red raises over $83,000
for Norton Children’s Hospital
Dance fundraiser returns in-person after two years virtual
BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (April 2, 2022) – Dance Big Red raised over $83,000 to support Norton Children’s Hospital. Western Kentucky University students participated in the eighth-annual student-led dancing fundraiser held in-person for the first time at Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium. After two years as a virtual event, Dance Big Red leadership moved to an outdoor event with over 650 registered participants. Over 300 with sponsors, families and community members attended the Community/Dance Little Red Hour to support the student dancers.
“We were ecstatic with the overwhelming response from participants, donors and sponsors,” said Madison Feria, Dance Big Red Co-Chair. “With so many obstacles from the pandemic and the devastating tornados from December, Dance Big Red’s commitment to Norton Children’s Hospital did not lessen but grew stronger as the need for specialized pediatric care continued to grow across the state.”
Dance Big Red has held various fundraising events throughout the year, including spirit nights, an online auction in partnership with Warren County Public Schools’ Dance Little Red, and a virtual swag store. The executive members held a special series called “All Talk, No Dance,” reaching over 200 students to give awareness to their mission. Several executive members also met with Norton Children’s heart patients and their families to learn about their journeys.
“The passion among the WKU student leadership planning Dance Big Red 2022 was evident as their vision and drive pushed beyond the various barriers to return Dance Big Red in-person,” said Dana Matukas, Norton Children’s Hospital’s Western Kentucky Communication Project Manager. “Since the inaugural event, Dance Big Red has raised nearly $500,000 for Norton Children’s Hospital. The event will forever be part of the family at Norton Children’s Hospital. Their dancing is saving lives.”
Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni said, “Dance Big Red is a terrific example of the Hilltopper Spirit in action. Seeing our students give of their time and effort to help children serves as an example for all of us to get involved and make a difference.”
"We are proud of our hard work, dedication and perseverance," said Reed Breunig, Dance Big Red Co-Chair. “Everyone faced challenges but their determination made the event a success. The WKU community and spirit showed out on Friday to support Norton Children’s Hospital.”
The event is possible due to hard work and dedication of volunteers. Thanks to the media sponsors, including presenting sponsor All Hit WUHU, 107.1 & Beaver 96.7, along with WBKO, WNKY, WOVO, Sam FM, Nash Icon, The Point and ESPN. Other business sponsors include WKU Campus Recreation & Wellness, Hilltopper Sports Properties, Graves Gilbert, Kiwanis Club of Bowling Green, WKU Student Government Association, BOAM – Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore, P.S.C., Feeders Pet Supply, German American Bank, Keller Williams Realty, The Kidz Club, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Med Center Health and US Bank.
For a full list of sponsors or to donate to Dance Big Red, visit www.DanceBigRed.com.
About Norton Children’s Hospital
As Kentucky and Southern Indiana’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital, Norton Children’s Hospital, along with its predecessor hospitals, have cared for children for more than a century without regard to their families’ ability to pay. The hospital also is an advocate for the health and well-being of all children. The 300-bed hospital is the region’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and serves as the primary pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Specialists offer comprehensive pediatric care, including a full range of services for congenital and acquired heart disease, cancer care, neurosciences, spine and orthopedic care, and neonatal care.
As part of a family of regional facilities that treat more than 180,000 children each year who seek care regardless of their families’ ability to pay, Norton Children’s Hospital and its sister locations rely on support from the community. The hospital’s foundation raises millions of dollars each year to advance world-class programs and services through workforce development, facility enhancement, equipment and research. More information is available at NortonChildrens.com.
Norton Children's Hospital cares for children from birth to adulthood with over 180,000 cared for in 2020 from across the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Children require smaller equipment, different medications and sometimes, different doctors. Norton Children's Hospital clinical staff is trained to provide the special kind of care children need and deserve.
Norton Children's Hospital is not-for-profit and relies on the generosity of the community to support programs, hospital improvements, education and advocacy through the Children's Hospital Foundation. Norton Children's Hospital cares for children regardless of their families' ability to pay. As the number of children needing help at Norton Children's Hospital continues to increase, so does the need to stay up-to-date on medical advances and technologies.
The Eighth Annual Dance Big Red will support pediatric heart at Norton Children's Heart Institute.
“The success of the event is a testament to the strength of leadership and compassion found at WKU.” said Dana Matukas, Communications Project Manager, Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and Norton Children’s Hospital. “Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation was contacted by a WKU sophomore, Kelli Robinson in early 2014 with the idea to create a dance event to support Norton Children’s Hospital. One student’s dream has now grown into an annual event that continues to grow with student participation and pledges impacting children from across the state that need specialized treatment. Since the inaugural event seven years ago, the event has raised over $400,000 for Norton Children’s Hospital.”
Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni said, “It’s terrific to see so many WKU students getting involved with Dance Big Red, giving of their time to help children. I’m proud of our Hilltoppers for understanding the significance we each play in our communities and how our efforts can change the world around us.”