A Sultana graduate will attempt to dance 26 hours this weekend to help victims of pediatric AIDS.


UCLA Bruins are no strangers to pulling all-nighters, especially having just finished midterm exams. But on Presidents Day weekend, 1,600 of them will stay up 26 hours, dancing to raise money during the 11th annual Dance Marathon at UCLA. (The 26 hours are meant to parallel the 26 miles run in a marathon.)


"It's kind of a bucket list thing to do at UCLA," said Taylor Osumi, a committee member with Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA, which organizes the event. "We don't technically have to be dancing 26 hours, but you have to be on your feet."


Pediatric AIDS Coalition raised $410,000 last year and has raised more than $2.15 million since the organization's founding. The proceeds benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, two free summer camp programs for children with HIV or family members of HIV victims and the UCLA AIDS Institute.


"This is my first year doing the dance marathon," said Matt Panopio, a 2010 Sultana graduate who's now a sophomore studying civil engineering at UCLA. "I'm kind of just going for it and seeing what's going to happen. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a tough challenge."


Dancers fill the Ackerman Grand Ballroom at UCLA, where a variety of DJs will rotate through, along with guest appearances from celebrities, dance teams and friends, urging participants on.


"I'll be sure to get a full night's sleep or two the night before, and get a full breakfast and see what happens," Panopio said.


For more information about the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA, visit www.DanceMarathon.UCLA.edu.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.