Many know March Madness as a college basketball tournament, but among the Bloomington-Normal community, it’s also a philanthropic opportunity to care for those in need.
Chi Omega at Illinois State University will host its 45th annual March Madness competition on April 11 to benefit Make A Wish Illinois.
Make A Wish Chairwoman Trisha Fischer said the dance competition among different Greek organizations raises money to grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses.
“And that has a really big impact on their recovery," she said. "You know, instead of them being in hospital beds, you know, just worrying about their treatment and getting better, they're able to focus on something like planning a trip to Disneyworld, which is what majority of those wishes are.”
Each year, the competition has a theme -- from the evolution of artists to Marvel superheroes. This year’s theme will be the battle of the bands.
“I think that's just a fun way to tie the whole show together instead of just having people dance, do whatever they want,” Fischer said.
The event was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but will returns this year as a virtual event.
Fischer said despite the cancellation, the group raised more than $55,000 for Make A Wish, so this year’s virtual event brings hope despite the changes.
“We do have the opportunity to reach a larger audience and outside of the Bloomington-Normal area, but ... still it's very different. A lot of new challenges, but we're adjusting and I think it's a good experience for everyone who's involved.”
Greek organizations also will raise funds for their own philanthropy. Fischer said the money will aid nonprofits that have hit financial roadblocks caused by the pandemic.
The event will be filmed at the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts and posted at 5 p.m. April 11 on the Chi Omega website.
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