Last year’s Dance Marathon raised approximately $16,000 for the hospital. Alex Gonzalez / Daily Nexus

UC Santa Barbara’s Dance Marathon (UCSBDM) will be holding its annual GauchoThon event on Feb. 10 in the Rob Gym, which will benefit the Neo-Natal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Santa Barbara’s Cottage Children’s Medical Center.

Check in will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the event officially starts at noon.

“GauchoThon is kind of like a jog-a-thon, but a dance-a-thon instead,” Zareena Zaidi, director of entertainment and co-director of marketing for the Dance Marathon at UCSB, in an email. “It’s just about having fun and supporting the kids.”

According to Zaidi, the main idea of GauchoThon is simply to “stand for the kids who can’t.” Various UCSB groups are brought in to perform, play games and do other activities to entertain participants throughout the twelve-hour event.

“We have kids — who are alive today because of the care they received from the hospital — come and tell their story, which I think is really impactful,” Zaidi said.

“Miracle Childs,” or those who have received life-saving treatment at CCMC, will be at the event to share their stories and possibly dance with students. Zaidi believes that having the “Miracle Childs” in attendance helps connect participants with the cause and highlight how their fundraising is helping CCMC.

CCMC hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year, with GauchoThon being the finale of their year-long efforts and a celebration of the kids and the participants who fundraise.

Ann Peyrat, liaison with CCMC, explained that the Dance Marathon at UCSB “provides a place for students to ‘belong’” while also benefiting other nonprofits on campus by “giving them a tabling opportunity to spotlight their mission.”

Peyrat also explained that UCSB students volunteer countless hours for the cause.

“UCSBDM members ‘table’ on campus, visit classrooms, residence halls, clubs and Greek life and host events. They take on leadership roles, form committees, hold weekly meetings and coordinate everything from catering, sponsorship, marketing, social media, entertainment, performances and visits from now healthy CCMC patients,” she said.

Over the past five years, UCSBDM and GauchoThon have raised over $60,000 to support Cottage Hospital’s Neo-Natal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units.

Zaidi said that there is no fundraising goal for this year, “just to raise as much as [they] possibly can.”

Individual entry for the event requires a $5 donation to CCMC and registration information can be found on the events’ Facebook page.

Even if students can’t make it out to this year’s event, there are still ways to donate and get involved. Donations will remain open until March and can be submitted on the events’ Facebook page. Registration for next year’s event will open up as early as Fall Quarter.

“[UCSBDM students] are this generation fighting for the next. We couldn’t be more honored to have the support of Dance Marathon at UCSB,” Peyrat said.