Dance Marathon to raise money for pediatric AIDS

Berkeley students are throwing themselves an all-night dance party for a good cause: to raise thousands of dollars to help fight AIDS in children worldwide.

The seventh annual Dance Marathon at Berkeley, planned for Pauley Ballroom, will start at 8 p.m. April 13 and feet will keep moving until 8 a.m. the next day. Registration ($19) closes Friday, though donations are accepted right up through the event itself.

More than 1,100 people — mostly Berkeley undergraduates, but also some faculty, staff and grad students — registered for last year’s marathon and raised more than $53,000 for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, according to Nadeeka Karunaratne, a third-year chemistry major and co-executive director of this year’s benefit. The event is sponsored by the ASUC and Berkeley’s Office of Student Development.

Last year’s fundraising total represented more than a 50 percent jump over the $32,000 generated by the marathon the year before, according to Karunaratne.

“Hopefully this year will be the same kind of growth,” she says.

Elizabeth Glaser started the foundation after contracting HIV through a blood transfusion when she was pregnant with her first child in 1981. Not knowing she had been infected, she passed the virus to both of her children, one through breast-feeding, one in utero. The foundation now does research and advocacy, and funds prevention and treatment programs in 17 countries. A thousand children a day, around the world, become infected with the HIV virus every day.

At the marathon, both student and guest DJs will keep feet moving, Karunaratne says, and activities are planned throughout, including food, a casino, an obstacle course and a 4 a.m. zumba lesson.

Registration is online at