A Muscatine native, Paige Wagler has always cared about helping her community. Now, a student at the University of Iowa, Wagler has found her voice as an advocate for the University of Iowa Dance Marathon (DM).
An organization that fund raises for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Wagler has helped DM raise significant amounts of money and awareness specifically for children with cancer. Wagler explained, “[DM] is a non-profit, philanthropic organization that is entirely student run, where we provide emotional and financial support to the pediatric cancer and bone marrow transplant patients treated at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. . .. We currently support over 1,000 families at the UI Stead Family Children’s hospital.”
When Wagler started school, she heard about DM and decided to try it just for fun. She quickly realized she cared deeply about the group’s mission and wanted to do whatever she could to help children with cancer. “I joined on a whim,” she said, “but felt a connection to their mission and thought it was a great way to get involved on campus. I soon fell in love with the organization and found myself doing all that I could whenever possible.”
For Wagler, this involved lacing up her running shoes and competing in a variety of 5K races to bring in donations. Though not a distance runner previously, Wagler found racing for donations an exhilarating way to help DM. In fact, she even worked up to running the Chicago Marathon two times. As she put it, “Through Dance Marathon, I have run the Chicago Marathon twice as a charity runner. Before this, I had never run a 5K, let alone a marathon, but I was running it for something so much bigger than myself. I can say that it was not easy by any means but knowing who you’re running for helps tremendously.”
This year, Wagler has put even more time and effort into supporting DM by becoming Lime Captain, a key part of DM’s leadership team. If you would like to help Wagler support DM and meet their annual goal, she encourages you to contribute via her donation page http://osl.iowa.uiowa.edu/dancemarathon/onlinegiving/11/18202, or host a community or business fundraiser and donate the proceeds.
Through her support of DM, Wagler continues Muscatine’s history of giving back to the community both locally and across the region. Wherever her education, and her charitable work take her though, she will always love her hometown and the joy in caring for the community it instilled in her. “I find myself enjoying the close-knit community that we have here in Muscatine. The downtown district is really starting to grow, and I like to see more local businesses pop up. I believe that Muscatine is truly unique with its small-town atmosphere, even with the larger population size,” she shared fondly.