Update: Loras Dance Marathon raises $87,000 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Update: Loras Dance Marathon raises $87,000

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Update: Organizers say the fourth annual Loras College Dance Marathon raised $87,000.  The goal this year was $55,000. 

Students staying up all night Friday into Saturday raising money for the Iowa Children's Miracle Network and University of Iowa's Children's Hospital.  Last year, students raised more than $53,000.

Even in a tough economy, that money makes a difference for local families.  Jacob Dean is you're average third grader.

"I like to play video games, watch tv and other video stuff," said Dean.

As he runs around the gym after school, you'd never he's had three surgeries in the last year.

"He was born in November of 1999 with a bilateral clef lip and pallet, and he was born in Iowa City," said Kate Dean, Jacob's mom.

After he was born, Jacob spent three days in NICU in Iowa City as doctors monitored him closely.

"From then on out it's just been back and forth trip to Iowa City for surgeries and check ups. Just making sure he's doing well," said Dean.

11 surgeries total - most recently a bone graft on the roof of his mouth. Kate Dean says funding from the Children's Miracle Network makes each visit easier.

"It's more like a family down there. We don't consider going to the appointments as a hassle," said Dean.

For the last three years students at Loras College have raised money for the hospital, through Dance Marathon.  It's a fundraiser that keeps these students up dancing all night.

"It's amazing to see what we do and who we do it for. The kids are amazing it's all amazing. It's remarkable that they are able to be that cheerful and friendly and vibrant," said Loras College Junior Matt Romkey.

Jacob looks forward to it every year, and his mom is touched by the students compassion.

"Especially for these kids that do not have any kids of their own or don't have a special needs child in their family," said Dean.

And both consider each other family.

"They're like family and just as much as I'd want to to see my brother and family succeed. I'd like to see them as as well," said Romkey.

As for Jacob, ask him what he loves best about his life, and the answer is simply:

"That I'm still alive!" said Dean.

It's answers like that, which give students motivation to stay up all night.

"Everyday I, whether its morning or night or through out the day, I always thank god that even though we've been through this we still have a healthy child," said Kate Dean.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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