Children at a Chicago hospital had a good reason to smile earlier this month.
Patients and staff at Children’s Hospital University of Illinois sing, dance and laugh to the tune of American Authors’ “Best Day of my Life” in a soon-to-be viral video — and it’s all for a very good cause.
The cheerful clip comes from Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM), the school’s student-run philanthropy group that raises cash every year for a new cause. This year, participants wanted to help hospitals build playrooms, teen lounges and new pediatric treatment rooms.
NUDM holds charity events throughout the year and culminates its fundraising efforts with a 30-hour dance marathon, which has raised more than $1 million in past years, said Arielle Miller, a student spokesperson for the group. This year's funds are being sent to Starlight Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to lift chronically ill kids’ morale in hospital settings.
To advertise the upcoming dance marathon and this year’s particular mission, NUDM headed to Children’s Hospital University of Illinois earlier this month to film those inside lip-syncing the popular song.
“When we went to the hospital to film this video, it was disheartening that some of the children had been there for up to 60 days and the one place they have to play is a cramped space with peeling paint and broken toys,” Miller said, adding that the hospital is one that will be considered for new facilities.
The limited space and difficult conditions that required them to be there didn’t dampen the children’s spirits though, which is apparent through their performance in the two-minute music video.
“It was really incredible,” Miller said. “You can’t visualize the impact you have until you see their faces light up. Some were shy at first, but then they got into it. We made sure every child who was well enough to participate could, even if they couldn’t stand up or come to their bed. We came to them.”
The dance marathon, now in its 41st year, kicks off on March 6 at Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus. It will also raise funds for the Evanston Community Foundation, a recurring beneficiary.
This article was originally published Feb. 23, 2015 at 6:03 p.m. ET.