$550,000 goal set for raiseRED Dance Marathon Patrick McSweeney, freshman with cancer, leading efforts with viral video


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It’s time to shake it for a good cause. The University of Louisville student group raiseRED kicks off its 18-hour dance marathon Feb. 23 to fight pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

    About 1,000 dancers will try to raise $550,000, about $100,000 more than the record-breaking amount the group collected last year.   

    Patrick McSweeney, a freshman engineering student, is well on his way. Thanks to a viral video McSweeney made detailing his own battle with cancer, he’s already raised $20,000.

    McSweeney, who is 18, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, when he was 5 years old. He learned last month that he has relapsed for the sixth time. He delayed his next cancer treatment in Philadelphia by a week so he could attend raiseRED and help others.

    “I want to turn this negative situation of relapsing into a positive,” he said. “I want to help others, so that no one else experiences what I’ve been through, no one has to relapse six times. One time is enough. They can be cancer free after one time.”

    The dance marathon kicks off at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Swain Student Activities Center. The night is a mix of dancing, testimonials by patients and special guests to keep the dancers energized and focused on how their participation makes a difference.

    The public is invited to take part in the Community Celebration from 10:30 a.m.-noon Feb. 24, which culminates in the grand reveal of the total number of dollars raised.

    All funds from raiseRED go to research and patient care at the UofL Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation.

    Learn more at raisered.org. To make a donation, go to raisered.org/donate.



    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.