Written by Kyndal Rock
The students and community at The University of Florida are all set and excited to participate in the annual philanthropy, Dance Marathon, which begins today! DM at UF benefits UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This year, the organization is celebrating 25 years at the University of Florida!
In 1995, 13 students had a vision and the desire to make a difference on our campus. These 13 students’ passion and dream to make a difference prompted the unstoppable movement that UF students participate in yearly. Since the beginning of the fall semester, students have been tirelessly fundraising for those who need it most.
The main event will take place today, March 30th and continue into March 31st inside the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Participating students have pledged to dance for the entire 26.2-hour event in order to bring awareness and raise funds for children with terminal illnesses. All proceeds from Dance Marathon at UF benefit our very own, UF Health Shands Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network. The money helps support necessities such as: equipment, medicine, child life programs and research.
Within the Panhellenic community, we have many young women who hold positions such as: Overall Directors, Assistant Directors, Captains, Emerging Leaders and Dancers.
The 26.2-hour event is a whirlwind of activity and emotion. Thousands of people from the Gainesville community fill the O’Dome and participate in all the fun. Dancers pack bags filled with costumes, extra socks, tennis balls, slippers and other necessitates they need for the two-day long event. During the event, kids, students and volunteers dance to the continuous music, whether it’s from the big speakers or from live performances. In the later hours of the event, there is a rave with a DJ and a silent disco to spark things up a bit! Every hour, the unmistakable sound of the line dance blares to signal students to find a partner and join in on the fun.
Every time $100 is raised, a loud gong sounds and signifies another step toward the fundraising goal. Along with the music and all of the fun, there are spectacular moments when Miracle Families stand on the stage and tell their child’s story. These heart-warming stories encourage the individuals in the room to continue to push past the exhaustion and continue in their efforts.
To be a part of Dance Marathon is to be part of something that is bigger than oneself. When individuals commit to stand for a day, they are giving someone else hope for a lifetime. Dance Marathon holds the belief that every kid deserves the chance to be a kid. DM is a lesson in humanity, showing what one generation can do for the ones to follow. Dance Marathon fights for the day when a child no longer has to wear a hospital band. When We Believe, we have the power to do anything.