8 Days until Dance Marathon

With only eight days until Dance Marathon 2018, we are coming together to share our mission. We are causing a MOVEMENT. Our movement is bigger than one person, it takes all of us. To further ignite our movement, invite a friend to create a donor drive page and learn more about Dance Marathon at the University of Florida. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Go to floridadm.org/register-to-fundraise

Step 2: Click the link that says “Follow this Link to register now!” You will then be directed to a countdown page where you will click the “Register Now” button.

Step 3: Fill out your name, email, and create a password to create an account and then “Continue to Next Step.”

Step 4: Choose “Fundraiser” as your position type and then select your role. You can join as an individual, join a team, or create a team. Then, “Continue to Next Step.”

Step 5: Fill out your registration details. This includes setting your fundraising goal and answering a few other questions about your participation in Dance Marathon at UF. You will also be asked to fill out your address information during this step. Then, agree to the terms and conditions for participation and continue to the final step.

Step 6: Review your details and click on “Complete Registration!”

Step 7: Go out there and begin fundraising For The Kids!

9 Days until Dance Marathon

Having trouble raising the last few dollars to reach your goal? We all have the POTENTIAL to do anything we put our mind to. We have compiled the best techniques that past Dancers, Captains, Assistant Directors, and Overall members have used. Check it out and unlock your fullest POTENTIAL

  1. Share your personal Miracle Story when contacting possible donors. This allows those to connect more with the cause if they see why you got involved in it in the first place.
  2. Post on social media accounts. If your parents are active on social media have THEM post.
  3. Discuss specifically where the money goes. 42% in extraordinary patient care, 48% in funding life-saving research, 10% in education.
  4. Have a fun incentive attached with your posts. This allows your friends to have fun and have a higher chance to get a larger donation.
  5. Bake a sweet treat and sell them to friends on campus.
  6. Data Does Good. It is a new technique this year and super easy to use. All you have to do is sign up with an email and contribute your Amazon browsing history in return for a $10 donation. You can also refer others with your link and get ANOTHER $10 donation. It is completely safe and a great way to make you closer to your goal!
  7. Contact past Dance Marathon at UF alumni! They are a great resource to use and understand the value in just a $1 donation.
  8. Make your own “DM Store”. For each donation given you can have tasks that you will complete for the certain donor. For example, $4 donation you will fold their laundry, $2 food delivery fee, or even $50 wear a costume of their choosing for an entire day.
  9. Sell old clothes. There are a variety of consignment shops in Gainesville that take donations and give cash on the spot.
  10. Share the journey of a Miracle Child. Including a Miracle Story of someone directly affected by the efforts you are doing can truly resonate with a potential donor. These can be found on the Dance Marathon at the University of Florida website.  

After you have received a donation remember that is important to say thank-you. This can be in an email, handwritten letter, or a text message. It is courteous to show gratitude to friends and family for supporting our cause! Even a simple message can go a long way with a donor.  

10 Days until Dance Marathon

Today marks a special occasion because it is TEN DAYS until Dance Marathon 2018! We have complied TEN lettered words that represent Dance Marathon.

GENERATION- We are the generation fighting for the next.

MAXIMIZING- We are maximizing our efforts to help these Miracle Children.

VOCALIZING- We are vocalizing our cause to raise support, funds, and awareness.

OBJECTIVES- Our objectives focus on helping the families of UF Health Shands.

PROJECTING- We are projecting the mission of Dance Marathon across the community.

EMPHASIZED- We emphasized the importance of working together for a common goal.

EXCLAIMING- We are exclaiming our cause all around campus today and every day!

EVERYTHING- Everything we do is For The Kids.

REVOLUTION- There is a constant revolution in medicine today to help those in need.

MOTIVATION- Our motivation are the Miracle Stories of those directly supported by our efforts.

#RedefiningMoment- Monika Baldwin

Monika Baldwin moved to St. Petersburg, FL from Lithuania ten years ago. When she began her journey as a finance student at the University of Florida, she wasn’t quite sure where to begin.

“My sophomore year I rushed Kappa Delta, and everyone was talking about his thing called Dance Marathon,” Baldwin said. “I seriously thought it was a dance team, but once I learned more about it I knew it was something I had to immediately get involved with.”

She served as Kappa Delta’s delegate her first year involved and was a Dancer the following two. Baldwin is now the Social Media Director at TradePMR, a financial advising custodian here in Gainesville. She has visited DM at UF multiple times since her graduation, and has even discovered a new way to remember her time with the organization as a student.

“I went to the event last year after they re-did the O’Connell Center and noticed they put up a bunch of new pictures. As my husband and I were walking around, I found a shot from my junior year Dance Marathon. Everyone’s doing the line dance and you can actually see me in it,” Baldwin said.

As for the future, Baldwin hopes DM at UF continues to grow and inspire the Gainesville community.

“I encourage every local friend I have to donate, go to the event, wear the shirts, anything I can,” Baldwin said. “This organization is unforgettable. You guys work so hard to change lives; I know it changed mine.”

– Jenna Metcalf

#RedefiningMoment- Eileen Cullen

Eileen Cullen, senior second year Morale Captain, has dedicated the past three years of her life to Dance Marathon.

Her freshman year she had no involvement in Dance Marathon, but this soon changed after she spent the summer going into her sophomore year being a camp counselor at a camp for kids with serious and life threatening illnesses in Central Florida.

This experience at camp is what sparked her passion for the kids.

Going into this camp, she had no idea the impact it would make on her life.  She was exposed to kids who just wanted to be normal kids, not kids who were defined by their illnesses.

One camper told her that at camp “I am a kid, not THAT kid.” This was one of Eileen’s many redefining moments. This made her realize that outside of camp kids can feel so defined by their illness.

Another moment at camp that has defined her DM journey is about a camper who called Luigi. This camper completely transformed into a courageous and fearless kid when he wore a Luigi costume all week. “He went from the kid who only hung out with his counselors, not the kids his age, to the kid who made 6 new friends by the end of the week because Luigi loved to talk to other kids,” she said.

Eileen works so diligently fundraising and as a Captain of Dance Marathon so all kids can feel the way her campers feel while they are at camp. She says programs like Arts in

Medicine and Child Life help the kids express themselves and normalize their experiences as much as possible.  These programs, which are generally fully funded by donations, are why she raises money for DM.

-Remi Storch

#RedefiningMoment – Gracyn DenBesten

Gracyn DenBesten has been enjoying all of the new experiences that come with being a freshman at UF, and she is looking forward to being a Dancer the most. The Miracle Children that Dance Marathon supports hold a special place in her heart because she remembers being one herself. Her experiences at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital motivate her to help kids who are fighting now and in the future.

“When I was eight years old, I developed Viral Myocarditis, a cold that attacked my heart and caused me to need a heart transplant. I was airlifted to Shands where I had a ten-hour surgery that put me on the Berlin Heart for over four months. When I think about moments that redefined and changed my life the most, I think about living in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. It gave me a new perspective for the blessing of life itself. I remember being in my room, and a patient would come to stay in the room next to me. Sometimes their room was cleared and they were gone that very next day because they had passed. It was a constant reminder for me to never take things for granted. My time in the hospital was so much waiting – for a new heart, to get better, to go home. Living through this was a reminder to take each day one step at a time. Even if it was a terrible quality of life where I was constantly being attached to a machine, taking pills, getting shots, and throwing up — I learned to never take it for granted.”

The experiences Gracyn endured are her driving force for making a difference in the lives of others. Her strongest passion in life is fighting for people and sharing her story with them.

“I want to instill hope in others through my life story. I want to tell them that they can go through hard times and come out stronger than before. My dream is to work with hospitals and children. I want to speak on behalf of organizations and hospitals to strengthen their abilities so they may touch more people and change more lives.”

Gracyn wants to do as much as she can to fully appreciate her second chance at life. She gives all of the new heart she was given to others.

“It is a very special opportunity for me to be a Dancer because I will have been on both sides. I know what Miracle Children go through. I went through it myself. It is a beautiful representation of the power we have as Dancers – what we are able to give. Dancing for me is thanking Dance Marathon for all that they did for me and supporting the children who are currently going through the unimaginably hard times that I experienced.”

-Amy Cook

#RedefiningMoment- Owen Maier’s Mother

Owen Maier, a Miracle Child, was born with transposition of the great arteries, a heart condition his parents didn’t know he had until he was born. The pulmonary artery and aorta were formed incorrectly on the wrong side.

“You have a vision of how your baby is supposed to be born, especially with your first child being healthy, and suddenly they’re taking him away.”

Owen had open heart surgery when he was 2 weeks old. After 2 months at UF Health Shands, Owen went home for first time. He is almost 5 years old, hasn’t been inpatient since newborn, and now is monitored monthly.

“We became involved with DM when Owen was just over a year old, and the first year, we weren’t much of a part of anything. We really just showed up at the event. The second year, we learned more about what was going on. But last year, the true defining moment for me, as a mom of a child who has been sick—you guys always tell us how much we inspire you, but you don’t know how much you inspire us. You guys…are teaching my children philanthropy. I’ve always had that inside of me, that wanting to help others. I want to help in any way I can to help others. DM is showing my kids what life is all about—in my opinion, why I think we’re here. I am so in awe. You collect one penny at a time to this amazing organization that represents lives saved. Without what you guys have done, my son might not have had access to the equipment and the processes that saved his life. A friend has a daughter who just started at UF and was talking to me about how she can be involved, and I told him she had to be involved in DM. I said it’s a movement! If you don’t know about it, you should!”

“Our second year with DM, our FR captain was Jake, and with him, I became okay to let go and let people play with my kids. I felt that I could walk away for a second. We’re able to trust you guys with our most prized possessions—our children. I can have that relaxing moment, because to be honest, we never really get those moments. Our kids look forward to it. When I tell my kids we’re doing something with DM, they literally jump up and down. All I have to say is ‘DM’, and they’re ready to get in the car.”

– Rachel Banks

I Love Dance Marathon Because…

February is the month of love and we asked students, parents, and Miracle Children what they love about Dance Marathon. Here are some of their responses.

“I love Dance Marathon because it brought me closer to other people who share the same passion I do.”

“I love this cause because it helps families like mine.”

“I love DM at UF because I get to help children and their families.”

“I love Dance Marathon because I get to hang out with great people, including the Miracle Families.”

“I love DM because it allows me to bring awareness to such an important cause.”

“I love Dance Marathon at the University of Florida because it is my family.”

“I love DM because we play fun games.”

“I love Dance Marathon because it helps me and kids like me get better.”

 

#RedefiningMoment- Kristina Brennan

Redefining Moments- Overall, Kristina Brennan

Kristina Brennan is a Senior Criminology major with a triple minor in Leadership, Religion, and Disabilities in Society from Weston, Florida. She loves to go to the beach and hang out with her friends/boyfriend. Kristina dreams of being a lawyer and is currently in the process of applying to law schools, wish her luck! Kristina is very active in organizations around campus, especially Dance Marathon at the University of Florida. This is her fourth year being involved and she serves as the Leadership Development Overall for DM 2018. When asked what her “Redefining Moment” was, here is what she said:

“I write this as the Leadership Development Overall for Dance Marathon 2018, but my involvement with Dance Marathon started three years ago as a Dancer for Alpha Omicron Pi. I enjoyed my time and yearned to be a Recruitment Captain the following year, so I applied and was lucky enough to be accepted onto the team. As I write this and try to describe the pivotal moment that redefined my commitment to strive to be a better person, I realize there was no singular moment. It was the accumulation of little moments that made me fall head over heels in love with this organization. It’s the memories of being carried by a stranger when I was a Dancer because I was that exhausted, of when I did my Recruitment Captain interview over Facetime in the Emergency Room because I had shattered my arm hours beforehand, and of some people I didn’t know well in Dance Marathon becoming what I treasure most in the world. Transform Today was one of, if not the best, days of my life. My team raised over $102,000.00 in 26.2 hours and as a school we shattered our record from last year by raising over $540,000.00. The very next day after, I was on the phone with Kris, the Recruitment Overall and a very dear friend of mine, and ignored my sister’s phone call. I was telling Kris that we needed to take a day to appreciate the beauty around us. It was the perfect day and I lamented how we all worked so hard that we forget to take the time to see what we have accomplished. My sister had left a voicemail during this time and I still keep it to this day, “Hey Kristina. This is Kelly. Please give me a call. This is regarding dad. Bye!”. Fifteen words that would destroy me. I called her back and she told me our father had a massive stroke. Sparing the details of what was weeks and months of the darkest times in my life, my father is now working to fight every single day. I keep that voicemail to give me perspective. Whenever I am feeling lazy, whenever I want to give up, and even when I do well, I listen to that voicemail to remind myself that I can always do more, give more, and be more. We constantly talk about redefining a single moment in Dance Marathon, and I’m such an adamant believer in this mentality because a series of single moments changed everything for me, so why couldn’t these moments change the next generation of UF students as well.”

We are so inspired by everything our Overalls do for us, and can’t wait to see them ~redefine moments~ for the rest of their lives!

-Lauren Palen

12 Days of Dance Marathon

On the first day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me one common goal.

On the second day of Dance Marathon my true love gave me two six point two hours and one common goal.

On the third day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the fourth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the fifth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the sixth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the seventh day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the eighth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me eight reasons to #RedefineTomorrow, seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the ninth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me nine numbers raised, eight reasons to #RedefineTomorrow, seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the tenth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me ten songs in the Line Dance, nine numbers raised, eight reasons to #RedefineTomorrow, seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the eleventh day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me eleven ways to get involved, ten songs in the Line Dance, nine numbers raised, eight reasons to #RedefineTomorrow, seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.

On the twelfth day of Dance Marathon my true love gave to me twelve Miracle Stories shared, eleven ways to get involved, ten songs in the Line Dance, nine numbers raised, eight reasons to #RedefineTomorrow, seven incentives to fundraise, six theme hours, five full meals, Fo(u)r The Kids, three pairs of shoes, two six point two hours, and one common goal.