Schools Divided, Shands United

On Saturday, the University of Florida will play Florida State during the rivals’ 63rd game ever! This Rivalry Week is a long anticipated week filled with football talk and predictions about the game. The UF and FSU rivalry is one that is known far and wide and taken pretty seriously by both fans. Each year, the game alternates between Gainesville and Tallahassee. This year, the Gators prepare to enter the Seminoles’ stadium which will be filled with excitement and intensity from both sides.

While we are rivals on the field, off the field we are each other’s biggest supporters, as we unite in our efforts to raise funds and awareness for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. The Dance Marathon programs at UF and FSU are two of the biggest in the entire country and our combined efforts have tremendous impacts on the children and families at our Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. We believe that together we can make even greater strides in our fight to end childhood illness.
We have joined together in several efforts throughout Rivalry Week to raise money For The Kids. This week, we have challenged our supporters to raise $63 in honor of the 63rd rivalry game between UF and FSU. Those who accomplish this goal will receive a limited edition UF & FSU Rivalry Week shirt! Also, on December 2nd, both DM at UF and DM at FSU will go to Jacksonville to watch the Jaguars take on the Indianapolis Colts! A portion of each ticket sale will go back to Dance Marathon at UF. Come meet some of our friends from Dance Marathon at FSU before the game, and purchase tickets through floridadm.org/tickets to get a seat in the DM block!

Transform Today

Tomorrow, our campus and community will come together to ignite the power of Dance Marathon at UF as we strive to make 26.2 hours worth of miracles. Each year, DM at UF holds a 26.2 hour fundraising initiative known as Transform Today, during which students raise funds and awareness for the patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. The 26.2 hour time frame represents the 26.2 hours that Dancers will stand at Dance Marathon’s main event in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on March 30-31, 2019. Last year, Dance Marathon at UF raised $540,424.93 on Transform Today. This year, Transform Today will take place from October 23 at 8:00 a.m. to October 24 at 10:12 a.m., with the goal of raising $600,000 For The Kids.

The University of Florida campus and Gainesville community will be filled with excitement and inspiration throughout Transform Today. All day, there will be activities across campus, from carnival games and dunk tanks, to Domino’s Pizza and Hyppo Popsicles at Plaza of the Americas, to the performance of the Linedance in Turlington Plaza. Join us for the Celebration of Miracles at Plaza of the Americas from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to receive your limited edition Transform Today fundraising incentive hospital bands on Tuesday evening, before heading to the Chipotle Hospitality Night at any Chipotle in Gainesville!

The total amount raised during Transform Today will be revealed at DM at UF’s annual Halloween celebration, Moralloween, on October 24th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Flavet Field on the University of Florida’s campus. Many of our Miracle Families come to Moralloween, where Miracle Children can Trick-or-Treat, enjoy games and Haunted Houses, and participate in a costume contest. Tickets can be purchased pre-sale for $5 from the DM Store or $7 at the door. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this special event, to celebrate our Miracle Children and the hope that we’ve given them through our efforts during Transform Today.

While participating in this exciting day, students remain motivated to continue fundraising by the courage of our Miracle Children, who continue to face each day with a smile no matter how challenging their fight may be. Transform Today is our opportunity to unite as one campus that believes in the power of Dance Marathon at UF to end childhood illness. On Transform Today, we believe that together we can reach our fullest potential, further our impact on this movement, and make more miracles than we ever thought possible.

Fast Facts about DM’s 25th Year

As we are in our 25th year, it is clear that Dance Marathon at UF is not just an organization. Dance Marathon at UF changes the lives of everyone involved – not just the children’s lives, or the students involved, but also the families of these children and the donors who are supporting this life-changing cause. Twenty-five years of selfless love, giving, support and encouragement, but we are just getting started. Each year is a new year to improve – to do better than the last, to raise more money, to dedicate more time and even more love.

Check out these 25 fast facts about DM at UF to celebrate our 25th year!

  • Over $18.2 million has been raised by Dance Marathon at UF since 1995, all #FTK.
  • More than 1 million children have been impacted by DM at UF since our start in 1995.
  • Up until 2008, Dancers stayed on their feet for 32 hours! Today, our Dancers stand for 26.2 hours, the length of an actual marathon.
  • In 1995, the first Dance Marathon at the University of Florida was held in the Rion Ballroom at the J. Wayne Reitz Union. In 1996, the event was moved to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, where it is held today.
  • Dance Marathon at UF is one of the five founding Dance Marathon programs in the nation.
  • We are lucky enough to have over 77 Miracle Families that inspire us daily.
  • DM at UF is still the most successful student-run philanthropy in the southeastern United States.
  • At our first Dance Marathon in 1995, we raised $12,424.66!
  • Over these 25 years, we have had 678 total hours danced and 388,696.2 hours by all of the Dancers combined!
  • DM at UF 2019 involves 20 Overall Directors, 484 Captains, and 196 Emerging Leaders!
  • Approximately 41,128 slices of pizza have been served to Dancers since 1995.
  • Since 1995, we have spent approximately 175 minutes performing the Linedance.
  • The most years that someone has participated as a Dancer is 12 years – Matt Michel was a 12 year Dancer!
  • Dance Marathon at UF has received over 49,000 donations on Donor Drive.
  • Dance Marathon 2019 is on March 30-31st. We cannot wait!#WhenWeBelieve anything is possible.

There are so many amazing things in store for our 25th year! We hope you join us in celebrating all of the miracles we have made in the past and join us in anticipating those to come. #WhenWeBelieve we can end childhood illnesses, we will.

What It Means to Be a Dancer

Participating as a Dancer in Dance Marathon is one of UF’s most adored traditions. Every spring, over 800 students remain awake and on their feet for 26.2 hours. While this task might seem daunting and impossible, over 15,000 Dancers throughout the past 25 years would attest to what a life changing experience it is. As a Dancer, you are part of a movement that is one generation fighting for the next, part of standing for those who can’t, and part of something so much bigger than yourself.

As a Dancer, you will get to firsthand experience one of the most incredible events that UF has to offer. It will be one of the most rewarding things that you will participate in throughout your time at the University of Florida. From standing on your feet for 26.2 hours to hearing the Miracle Families speak and learning the Linedance, the experiences and memories you will gain throughout the event are indescribable.  

Dancing has redefined the college experiences of everyone who has done it. Here are some quotes from Dancers who have graciously shared their memories with us.

“I knew I wanted to dance the second I heard about DM. Standing and dancing for the whole 26.2 hours was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Whenever it got tough, I just thought about and talked to all of the Miracle Families and they really kept me going with high spirits.” – Dana Smoller, Freshman Dancer

“Dancing at DM is one of my favorite memories I have from my time at UF. Dancing for 4 years was challenging, yet one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I am now a nurse in the neonatal ICU, so I see the direct impact that organizations like Dance Marathon and the Children’s Miracle Network have on these kids and their families. I’m so grateful for all DM has taught me and all it has given to these amazing families. I’m so proud to have been a 4-year Dancer!” – Lauren Calhoun, 4 Year Dancer

These individuals believed that their actions could shape the future. They believed that when our University unites, anything is possible. If you, too, believe that you have the power to make a difference, visit floridadm.org/dancers to participate in one of the most fulfilling things you will ever do. Dancer Registration closes September 30th, so apply before you’re left wishing you did!