Dance Marathon event raises thousands


Kayla Ott and Ana Bennett, sisters of the Phi Mu Fraternity, volunteer at Dance Marathon to raise money for children.

Kayla Ott and Ana Bennett, sisters of the Phi Mu Fraternity, volunteer at Dance Marathon to raise money for children.

Approximately 90 students gathered in the Religious Life Center Saturday, March 26 to participate in Dance Marathon and raise money for The Children’s Hospital in downtown Macon.

Dance Marathon is a nationwide organization in which more than 100 colleges participate to raise money for The Children’s Miracle Network hospital in their community. The yearlong process of raising money culminates at one end-of-the-year event to celebrate the money raised.

Participants of Dance Marathon stay on their feet the entire event while playing games, dancing and making crafts. The first Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon mission statement was “We dance for those who can’t.”

“We work all year long [planning] smaller fundraisers and getting people to sign up to participate in the event. The ultimate goal is to raise as much money as possible for the Children’s Hospital in downtown Macon,” said Kathryn Owen, the Director of Dance Marathon.

The smaller fundraisers include events in the Week of Hope, which is the week before the actual Dance Marathon event.

“Normally the Week of Hope is our last fundraising push and is a way to get people excited for the actual day of the event. It’s a way to build awareness leading up to the event,” Owens said.
The Week of Hope typically consists of restaurant nights where a portion of the sale goes towards the Children’s Hospital. This year, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Francar’s Buffalo Wings held restaurant nights.

Students interested in participating in Dance Marathon were able to register as individuals or as a team and were required to raise $50 per person. To raise money, participants could fill out addresses to send letters to friends and family asking for donations or ask for donations through the Donor Drive website.

“All of the money that we raise goes directly back to the hospital and this year our money is going to fund the chapel that they are building [in the Children’s Hospital],” Owens said.

Mary Dee Beal, Vice President of Event Management, planned the events for the actual day of Dance Marathon. The theme of this year’s Dance Marathon was a circus, filled with events, snacks and decorations.

Participants learned a dance choreographed by Shaynna Rodrigues, painted ceiling tiles to be put in The Children’s Hospital and participated in various circus-themed games and skits. Clowns were also present making balloon animals.

In addition to the games, children and their families, known as Miracle Families, spoke to participants about their experience while in The Children’s Hospital.

“Usually [the Miracle Families] talk about the time they were in the Children’s Hospital, and it varies from things like a car accident to children that have actually had cancer or some sort of illness.They share their story about how the hospital helped them and it shows us the importance of what our donations do for them,” Owens said.

Many participants in Dance Marathon have gone on hospital tours of The Children’s Hospital and have been able to see what their donations have actually gone to in past years.
“We can look concretely at the event that we planned and decorated for and then, more importantly, the money we raised. We can go to the hospital and see what [our donations] have gone to,” Beal said.

This year at Dance Marathon, participants raised over $11,653 to put towards the building of a chapel within The Children’s Hospital in downtown Macon. “My favorite part is just being able to do something for someone else and giving back to the Macon community, especially this Children’s Hospital that serves over 48,000 kids every single year,” Owens said.

If you are interested in being a member of the Dance Marathon Executive Committee next year, contact Kathryn Owens.

Applications are due to the board by April 8.