A Glens Falls woman battling breast cancer, a Schroon Lake drummer diagnosed with advanced multiple myeloma and the families of two men who died from an accident and illness last month are among the record number of designated recipients of this year’s South High Dance Marathon funds.
The Marathon Committee has announced the 44 beneficiaries of the money that will be raised at the event on March 6-7.
The students collected more than $583,000 during last year’s dance and are hoping to top that record this year.
Students are responsible for choosing the beneficiaries, which this year total more than the 39 people and charities helped in 2014.
Hannah Hutter, a committee chairperson, said the group decided to increase the number of recipients because it received about 140 applications from organizations and individuals.
“We’re very excited to be dancing for all these people and helping people who need the money,” she said.
The committee altered its process slightly this year, according to Hutter. Instead of going through each applicant as a group, they handed committee members a packet of information about each one. Then, the committee selected the ones that were a definite yes and voted to approve them. Afterward, the group went through the rest.
Hutter said the group gave priority to those applicants who had a connection with the school.
“This year, more so than years past, there were a lot of potential recipients who were related to people who were dancing,” she said.
The committee also gave priority to people with a life-threatening illness, according to Hutter.
Olivia Higgins, another committee chairperson, said it was a difficult process to cut down the list of applicants.
“It was hard trying to adjust because we had so many more this year,” she said. “It was a little slow getting into it, but once we got the process down, it went smoothly.”
Higgins attributed the increase to interest to the growing publicity about the marathon. Now, it is attracting applicants from outside the district.
The recipients include Toni Lyng, who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. Preteen girls Heather and Catherine Hayes of Glens Falls have been raising money in honor of Lyng, who is their aunt.
Schroon Lake resident Rhonda Barnes has been undergoing treatment for a stem cell transplant after battling advanced multiple myeloma. She is a drummer and vocalist with Rockology, which was among nine bands that held a benefit concert in September.
The family of Benjamin Simpson will also receive funds. Simpson died last month after a three-year battle with progressive cerebellar ataxia, a neurological disorder, which robbed him of muscle coordination and the ability to form words.
Another recipient is the family of Melvin Jacobie, owner of an excavating company who was killed Jan. 1 when a truck he was working under began rolling down the hill.
Charities that are receiving funding include the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern NY, the C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Habitat for Humanity and the Open Door Mission.
Preparations are in high gear for the event. Soon, the committee will be working to record videos about each recipient that will be shown at the dance.
There will be mandatory meetings for students who want to participate in the event, Hutter said.
A meeting Wednesday is for freshmen and sophomores, and juniors and seniors will meet Thursday.
“Everybody is crazy busy right now,” Higgins said.
The students are looking forward to the dance, according to Hutter.
“We’re really super-duper excited and can’t wait. It’s really coming fast,” she said.
To see a full list of the people who benefited from this event, please visit Post Star’s website.
For more information or to find out how to donate, visit www.shmd.org.