March 25, 2014
By Joe Grove
IHS graduate to dance for 26 hours for charity
Eliza Doolitle sang she could have danced all night in “My Fair Lady.” Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney and Julie Andrews sang the same claim.
However, Casey Kovarik, a 2013 graduate of Issaquah High School and now a student at UCLA, hopes to make good on that claim April 5 and 6, when she attempts to dance 26 consecutive hours as part of a fundraiser for the Pediatrics AIDS Coalition.
For the past 12 years, students have organized a 26-hour Dance Marathon to raise money and educate individuals regarding pediatric HIV and AIDS, Kendall McManus, an event publicist, said.
“So far, we have contributed more than $3.5 million toward beneficiaries such as the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Project Kindle, a free camp for children affected by the disease and the UCLA AIDS Institute.
“Casey has pledged to take a literal ‘stand’ against pediatric HIV and AIDS, staying on her feet for 26 hours straight.”
Kovarik said the Pediatric AIDS Coalition is big on campus and a lot of Greek life gets behind it, with 12 members of her sorority (Chi Omega) on the board that organizes the event.
“They really encourage us to get involved,” she said. “We are always one of the top fundraising houses, and it will be known as a bucket list experience at UCLA.”
Kovarik said she does not have a background in dancing “except for a few classes in the first grade.” She played soccer in high school and hopes the sports background will give her the needed stamina.
“They told us we didn’t need to be good at dancing, just be able to stay up a long time,” she said, adding that is more important than looking good while dancing.
Kovarik played soccer for many years, but hasn’t played in college because of high school injuries.
“I have arthritis in my knees, so I hope they don’t give out during the 26 hours,” she said.
McManus said Dance Marathon at UCLA is the largest collegiate charity event in California, bringing together thousands of students, parents, alumni and interested community members each year.
“Calling on family and friends, participants raise at least $250 each, and many do so in particularly creative ways, she said. “As a registered dancer, Casey will spend 26 hours with her fellow students learning about the disease, meeting young children who are affected and celebrating the continuous fight for a cure.”
Kovarik said she is not preparing for the dancing so much as she is working on the fundraising.
“You don’t get pledges by the hour or anything, you just explain to friends and family, whoever will listen,” she said. “The fundraising has gone fairly well for me and our house is in second place out of quite a few teams, but we want to be first, as we have been first for the past four years.”
Kovarik will be home for spring break before the event and she will continue working on her fundraising, she said.
“HIV and AIDS education is on the forefront of our minds. We want people to know the cause and really get behind these amazing kids,” said Andrew Ho, president of the Pediatric AIDS Coalition. “Now is the time to learn, now is the time to educate the community, now is the time to shake things up and make a meaningful impact.”