WFU students dance for cancer research at first 'Wake 'N Shake'

By Pam Barrett
March 2, 2006

Wake Forest University will hold its first Wake 'N Shake Dance Marathon to raise funds for cancer research from noon to midnight March 25 in Reynolds Gym. All proceeds will go to the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund, which supports the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

The event, which will be both mentally and physically challenging for dancers, was created as a way to raise funds and symbolize the obstacles faced by people diagnosed with cancer. Organizers said their goal is to register at least 300 dancers and raise at least $45,000. The general public is encouraged to participate as dancers or sponsors.

During the marathon, Wake 'N Shake dancers will dance and participate in a variety of activities, including games, competitions and group line dancing. Entertainment will be provided by musicians, dance groups and other student and community organizations. Cancer survivors, families and friends of cancer victims and special guests, including Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch and football coach Jim Grobe, will inspire dancers with words of encouragement and testimonials.

Led by a team of 29 students and two advisors, Wake 'N Shake is part of the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund Drive, a student-initiated, student-run initiative whose mission is to mobilize the entire campus community to raise money to benefit the Wake Forest Cancer Center. The drive was founded in 1980 by Wake Forest students in memory of Brian Piccolo, a Wake Forest student and football player who died of cancer at age 26.

In 1964, during his senior season at Wake Forest, Piccolo led the nation in rushing and scoring. He went on to hold a short career with the Chicago Bears. Since Piccolo's death in 1970, embryonal cell carcinoma, the type of cancer from which he suffered, has an 80 percent cure rate. For the past 25 years, the Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund Drive has included several annual fundraising events that have raised more than $750,000 for cancer research. Every year more than half of Wake Forest students participate in the events.

For information about participating in Wake 'N Shake, visit or contact one of the dance marathon chairs: Jillian MacDonald at; Sebastian Ehreiser at; or Matt Hammer at Registration is $15 and dancers are asked to raise funds through individual sponsorships.

Wake 'N Shake is sponsored by several campus organizations, including Wake Forest's Student Union, Resident Student Association, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and athletic department.

Note to Editors: Advance interviews and media coverage during the event can be arranged by contacting the News Service.