This year’s University of Iowa Dance Marathon got a little help from some big Hawkeyes football players.
Offensive linemen Levi and Landan Paulsen sacrificed four years of flow, cutting their hair and trimming their beards at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday in Iowa City.
“Some great awareness brought to a great cause,” Landan Paulsen said. “And Dance Marathon is, you know, one of the best.”
The entire event raised nearly $3 million for the kids at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, while the twin brothers raised almost $16,000 in their efforts.
“There’s so much good in the world you just have to find it,” Levi Paulsen said. “It just goes to show that the culmination of everybody working together, for one good cause, is unbelievably powerful.”
One of the most humbling aspects for Levi and Landan was the reach of their fundraising.
“Us personally, we’re getting donations from people in New York City and we have no idea who they are,” Landan said. “We’re getting donations from people in Hawaii. That’s thousands of miles apart.”
Landan’s girlfriend, Alexis Henry, was the brainchild of the campaign. She said the guys felt the pressure during the build up to Saturday.
“They might have put on a face for everybody else, but they were truly nervous,” said Henry, who participated in the Big Event. “Everyday they kept asking each other, ‘how are we gonna style it?, should we shave it, should we trim it? I don’t know what to do…I’m so scared’.”
That fear has turned to anticipation now that the trimming is complete. Levi said he’s expecially excited to see what it feels like during football activities.
“I won’t be as insulated. I don’t know if I’m gonna freeze or what’s gonna happen,” Levi said. “Maybe I’ll be even a little bit faster because I won’t have the wind resistance. But I’ll still be the same Levi and he’ll be the same Landan when we go in there, you know?”