University of Southern Indiana

USI Dance Marathon will blend fun and philanthropy

USI Dance Marathon will blend fun and philanthropy

11/6/2012 | University Communications

Many Tri-state families, including several USI employees, have personal connections to Riley Hospital for Children of Indianapolis and believe in the importance of raising awareness and funds for the hospital.  

Julie Weinzapfel, buyer in Procurement Services, and her husband Greg, praise Riley for advancing their daughter Sophie to be the fully mainstreamed and age- appropriate nine year-old that she is today.  

After Sophie repeatedly failed newborn hearing screenings at St. Mary’s Hospital, further testing confirmed that she was born deaf. After wearing hearing aids in both ears and undergoing therapy at the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center in Evansville for two years, it was determined that she was not progressing and Julie and Greg ultimately decided to try a cochlear implant. Extensive research and recommendations led them to Riley, where a world-renowned surgeon successfully performed the procedure and laid the groundwork for Sophie to be able to hear for the first time in her (then) three years of life.

For the next six years, the Weinzapfels made scheduled trips to Riley for routine mapping sessions to ensure that Sophie was hearing the best she could. Because Sophie is doing so well, those trips have stretched out to annual visits that Sophie and her sister Clara look forward to. “They roll out the red carpet for us each and every time we come to Riley,” said Weinzapfel. “It’s become a fun appointment for our family and not the least bit scary.”

Kim Reddington, senior administrative assistant in Athletics, also knows firsthand the importance of supporting the hospital where her grandson was born in January 2011. Ozzy Reyher underwent an arterial switch operation to correct a congenital heart defect when he was just two days old. The Reyher/Reddington family credits cardiovascular surgeon John Brown, M.D., and the team at Riley with saving Ozzy’s life. “The doctors and nurses at Riley are angels to us,” said Reddington. “The treatment and support that they provided to our family during Ozzy’s stay went above and beyond expectations.”

University of Southern Indiana Dance Marathon, a USI student organization supporting Riley Hospital for Children, will hold a dance marathon from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, November 10, in the Recreation, Fitness, and Wellness Center.

Dance marathons are multi-hour, multi-faceted events that blend games, dancing, philanthropy and more into one meaningful experience. Hosted at universities across Indiana since 1991, the fundraisers encourage students to "stand and dance for those who cannot do so themselves." Riley Hospital treats children across the state for serious illnesses or health conditions and never denies a child treatment based on the parents’ ability to pay.

Donations can be made to the USI Dance Marathon at

Students interested in participating can register in the Student Development Office located in University Center East. Cost is $10 per student, which includes a T-shirt. Participants are asked to raise an additional $30 through sponsorships toward the event goal of $10,000.

For more information about the event, visit or contact Theresa Scheller at



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