San Diego

SDSU Hosts All-Night Dance Marathon For Cancer Fighter, Rady Children's Hospital

In the end, SDSU students danced for 15 hours straight to help raise more than $322,000 for kids battling life-threatening illnesses at Rady Children's Hospital

Students at San Diego State University partied all night long Friday, and with good reason: to raise money for young patients battling life-threatening diseases at Rady Children's Hospital.

The 5th annual "Miracle Network Dance Marathon" went down on campus for 15 hours, from Friday evening into Saturday morning, with more than 800 students dancing the night away.

The party put the spotlight on Gideon Robinson, 8, who is this year's Rady Children’s Hospital’s "Rady Rockstar."

Gideon has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since the age of 5. The Dance Marathon helped raise money for the young patient, plus other kids undergoing treatment at Rady Children's.

Every hour, on the hour, the college students heard from the kids and families they were helping, including Gideon.

The marathon also served as the perfect opportunity for Gideon to get jiggy and show off his polished moves.

"I’m going to dance for the 15 hours," Gideon told NBC 7.

And dance, he did.

The party wrapped up Saturday morning with a special moment: Gideon took his final chemotherapy pill in front of all of the SDSU students. The crowd roared with applause.

After that, the boy took part in a symbolic tradition, ringing a bell on stage, signaling the end of treatment.

Once more, the crowd went wild.

After 15 hours of adrenaline-fueled anticipating, the dancers' feet now aching, one big, unanswered question remained: how much money had they raised?

One number at a time, the big number was revealed: $322,279.

That news finally brought the house down. Many of the students cried uncontrollable tears of joy.

Saturday’s fundraising figure was the most money that has ever been raised by students in the Miracle Network Dance Marathon.

For Gideon's family, it meant the world. 

Gideon's parents are sharing "The Adventures of Iron Gideon" on Facebook. His mom told NBC 7 it's a way to show kids and families battling cancer that there is hope.

"All these positive moments, memories that we've built, are what make the battle that much easier," his mom said. "If we didn't have any of these moments we'd be sitting, wallowing in our guilt and sadness, and that's not a way to get through cancer, especially with kids."

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