By Katie Susik

Struggling to raise your money to participate in Dance Marathon?

Ask Lauren Nitchoff for some fundraising advice, a 20-year-old finance and mathematicsLauren DM-1 double major who has raised $3,100 for the kids and doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“I never expected to reach this amount, but by putting my heart and dedication into the process, I was able to do it,” she said.

The Lemont, Illinois native didn’t stop at writing letters to friends and family in an effort to raise the thousands of dollars she has for the student organization. Nitchoff and a friend went canning at the Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers game, holding up a sign and describing what Dance Marathon is all about. Within 45 minutes, the two of them raised over $250 dollars.

Nitchoff also held an event at her high school’s varsity boys basketball game called “Hoops for Hope,” selling merchandise she had previously created.

The products included t-shirts and wristbands that had “iHope For The Kids” printed on them and for every t-shirt sold, Nitchoff automatically received $5 dollars.

Nitchoff, however, advises those dancers having difficulty raising their money to write personal letters.

“Even if you don’t talk to them much, most of the time they will donate because it’s such an amazing cause. I had family and friends sending me checks from New York and New Jersey, people I had never met before,” she said.

Nitchoff asked her mother for a list of all the people her family sends Christmas cards to every year. She took each name and address, made labels using their information and then sent them customized letters. The task was successful, generating a decent percentage of her current total.

Excited to dance in February, Nitchoff believes everyone is capable of standing for 24 hours to support these children.

“I have heard people say ‘There’s no way I will be able to stay up for that long, let alone stand for 24 hours,'” she said. “Having to deal with back aches, tiredness, exhaustion, is nothing compared to the pain and suffering these children put up with day to day.”

To these people she says, “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you think you can’t do.”

With her positive attitude and determination, Nitchoff serves as an inspiration to all students wanting to participate in the Big Event.

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