Fall’s Push Forward: Transform Today 2021

Written By: Emma Suttell

As the sun rose on Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 26th, we put on our colored polos and filled the stands to unite as one before beginning Dance Marathon at the University of Florida’s annual Transform Today. Tasked with a mission to raise as much funds as possible for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in 26.2 hours, we headed to the Reitz Union to kickoff the two-day event with a Miracle Story, speeches of inspiration and, of course, the 2021 Line Dance.

Captains, Ambassadors, Assistant Directors and Overalls alike engaged in activities throughout the morning, such as an intense Simon Says tournament and some relaxing yoga to fend off any early fundraising nerves.

The morning continued with bonding in the Spirit Room through listening to hourly Miracle Stories hosted by the Family Relations team. Motivated by the journeys of these Miracle Families, we wrote emails, canned at various locations on and off campus and passionately posted on our social media.

The ground outside of the Reitz was covered in encouraging notes and sentiments left by members throughout the day. Messages like “Kids Can’t Wait” and “Choose Change” lay beneath the feet of anyone who entered the building to remind them of Dance Marathon at UF’s mission.

For some members, Transform Today marks an annual rededication to the mission of DM at UF and is a powerful way for them to share their commitment to the cause. Mazzy J., a Miracle Child, said that being involved in Dance Marathon in college is something that is high on her priority list as she heads into her senior year of high school.

“It’s a really big event for everybody on campus because it’s like a mini marathon,” Mazzy said. “I think I’ve been coming for 5 years … and it’s my last year sadly, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

For others, this year’s Transform Today marked their official introduction to the DM at UF community and their first time getting to stand in a room surrounded by other students fighting for the same cause.

Camila Acevedo from the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) Unit 42 said that in her team meetings, her Captains have been focusing on the true meaning of Transform Today and getting her unit “hyped for the event.” She especially loved visiting the Hands Helping Shands booth outside of the Reitz to add her handprint and her “Why DM” to the wall.

Second-year Leadership Development Captain Willow Oblin said, “It is really meaningful because at the end of the day the whole wall will be filled, and we are able to see how many people are supporting the patients at Shands.”

Oblin added that her favorite part of Transform Today is getting to join her ELP Unit in all of the activities and watch their passion for DM grow throughout the event.

As mid-day approached and all of the miracle makers were growing hungry, we headed to Bento and Chipotle to refuel before the evening ahead, all while paying-it-forward with the help of the locations’ Hospitality Nights.

The merchandise table was covered with the new “We Won’t Back Down” Collection, which appeals not only to DM at UF members but also the entire campus. 

Merchandise Captain Dailey Dellenbach said, “[The new collection] is inspired by Gainesville and the UF community and the Tom Petty song, “I Won’t Back Down. We tried to tie in Dance Marathon with the UF community and bring it together. It’s all about the cause connection.”

Additionally, members had the chance to view a short film directed by a Dance Marathon alumni. “White Fire,” written and directed by Corey Crumpacker, tells the story of Crumpacker’s younger brother who was a patient at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Many of us were moved to tears during the showing and were newly motivated to continue our fundraising efforts after watching such an impactful story.

That evening, we convened on Norman Field for Our Journey, a celebration of the day’s efforts and a push into the final hours of Transform Today. Miracle Child Nate and his mother gave a powerful speech about how Kids Can’t Wait. The young man stepped forward to band several members who had successfully raised $1,000. Those who watched the banding cheered and shed tears for their friends and family who had reached such a monumental milestone.

According to Merchandise Captain Kalie Wright, “Transform Today [helps us realize] how much of a family everybody truly is. I know we always say that Dance Marathon is a family, but it takes events like these to really see it in its true light.”

Efforts did not stop overnight. Captains attended an appreciation and bonding event, where laughing ensued over songs curated to match each team’s title. The Morale Team completed an epic run from UF’s campus all the way to Shands Children’s Hospital.

The next morning, joy radiated throughout the Reitz North Lawn as we gathered to conclude Transform Today. In a morning full of canning, games and Line Dancing, hugs and memories were shared all in celebration of the past 26.2 hours.

As night fell on Flavet Field, dozens of student organizations descended to celebrate Moralloween, all donned in costumes ranging from “101 Dalmatians” to “Trolls” to an inflatable sloth. Eagerly awaiting the final fundraising total reveal, members visited booths hosted by ELP Units, student clubs and Mini Marathon high schools.

Grace Tyler, an Ambassador and previous Leadership Development Captain, stood behind her organization’s booth cheering on her members and telling them some of her own inspiring experiences as part of DM at UF.

“As a senior, I really wanted to work to bring new girls in and get new Dancers and raise money with our organization,” she said. “Watching other people in my organization get to interact with Miracle Children and have that moment that I had when I first met the Miracle Children has been amazing.”

Running around the event to ensure that every Miracle Child and Family was having the time of their lives, Morale Assistant Director Logan Foster shared his vision for Moralloween. When he first started in DM as an ELP, he found that Moralloween was one of his favorite events of the year.

“It’s been crazy,” he said. “I think the highlight has been seeing the passion and community come together. A lot of our Miracle Children might not get to experience Halloween or trick-or-treating, so being able to bring the Halloween spirit to them through Moralloween means so much to me.”

The final reveal had us jumping to hug our friends, laughing with joy and screaming with excitement. Celebrating the $589,484.19 miracles made over the past 26.2 hours was definitely a highlight of the experience. Ending the night with one final Line Dance, everyone celebrated what we had finally accomplished. We had Transformed Today. 

Choose Change

Written By: Hope Hathcock

Every choice you have made in your entire life has led you to exactly where you are in this second, reading these words.

Choices have the capacity to lead you down a new path, yet they also have the power to unite you with the overlapping journeys of others. How hopeful is it that you are connected to a community of individuals who all chose to attend the University of Florida and chose to join the family that is Dance Marathon at the University of Florida? This organization is asking you to make one more choice together: Choose Change.

Life can change in an instant. With one hospital visit, one scan and one diagnosis, an entire family’s everyday life changes. Normal changes.

However, we at DM at UF possess the gift of change, for we have the ability to alter someone’s life for the better. The power of passionate, positive change should not be underestimated nor taken for granted.

Do not hesitate or put your plans off for another day because Kids Can’t Wait. Every minute that passes by is one we can’t get back. Every minute, 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Every minute, we have the potential to change 62 lives. But we have to choose to act. We have to make the decision to put ourselves, our free time and our distractions second, and put these children first.

In the end, the Netflix episode you binge-watched won’t matter. You won’t remember that time you took a nap on the couch. Nothing will come from the hours you spent scrolling on social media. 

We create a ripple effect of transformation when we choose to act for a cause bigger than ourselves. These outcomes stretch beyond our years in college. You may never know what will come of the $20 bill a kind stranger dropped into your fundraising bucket. But its potential is endless, and there is beauty in the infinite possibilities that come from you choosing to devote your time and attention to the smallest of patients sitting in a hospital room at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. 

What will change from a choice you make? It’s impossible to know precisely.

But what can change from the choice to dedicate yourself to DM at UF? Everything.

Leading a New Legacy: The First Fall Kickoff Event

Written By: Ashley Hearn

As people flowed onto Flavet Field, the energy swelled, and with more people came more passion. Not even a mask could hide the evidence of radiant smiles. There was so much to do, so many people to meet. It was the first Fall Kickoff Event, and it was the perfect way to start the Dance Marathon at the University of Florida 2021-2022 year.

In the past, Transform Today has fostered a sense of excitement for the year ahead. This year, that feeling arrived early. With so many restrictions and plans up in the air throughout the past year, the chance to finally gather all together as an organization was highly anticipated.

“This is a dream come true for the entire Overall Team,” said Productions Overall Director Sofi Miret. “To see this actually happen is unreal.” 

The evening was an opportunity unlike any offered in the past — an event purely focused on togetherness.

“We wanted an event after Captains, ELPs and Ambassadors were chosen, but right before Transform Today to bond everyone,” Miret said. 

The first annual Fall Kickoff event delivered live music from local bands, appearances from Miracle Families and food from two vendors. The event’s packed agenda transformed Flavet Field into a space for celebration of the year to come. 

Throughout the night, Miracle Children swayed to the beat of the music, and made for the perfect backup dancers. They first accompanied a local Gainesville band, The Late Night Losers. After performing at last years Main Event, many people were enthusiastic about the bands return. Following this performance, another local band, Glass House Point, made their Dance Marathon at UF debut. 

In between the acts, many satisfied their hunger by visiting the Hospitality Team tent where Assistant Directors served dozens of pizzas donated by Domino’s. After a savory slice, a sea of people joined the winding B’z Gelati line to purchase a refreshing ice cream-gelato treat.

Over good food and even better conversation, relationships flourished. Emerging Leaders met their Units, Family Relations Captains united with their Miracle Families and Miracle Children performed their talents. It was a memorable day of firsts.

To Carley Smith, a Family Relations Assistant Director, the Fall Kickoff was especially meaningful. 

“This event was created to introduce the entire Dance Marathon community to the families, and to each other and just to the purpose of what DM is all about,” she said.

The lines to indulge in B’z Gelati and Domino’s never truly died down. On stage, the bands moved the crowd to its feet. Cheers erupted throughout the event as the Merchandise Team successfully sold out items from the Kids Collection drop. The atmosphere was electric. 

While we had the opportunity to enjoy food, live music and the presence of each other, we must remember that this is a luxury. We got the chance to interact and embrace the moment, a chance that we often take for granted. 

The Fall Kickoff was a time to connect with the cause and with the people fighting for it, and we will use this unity as momentum as we inch closer to Transform Today on Oct. 26 – 27 — and as the year continues. 
If anything, the first Fall Kickoff Event can be best represented by the very children DM at UF will continue to fight for. Miracle Child Kinsey closed out the night by singing the High School Musical song “We’re All In This Together,” and at this inaugural event, that proved to be true.

United for Celebration

Written By: Leah Grobman

On a Wednesday afternoon, as students walked to class, picked up lunch and the Century Tower bell rang, Turlington Plaza transformed into Miracle Child Kinsey’s birthday party. Being at the heart of campus, there is no better place to celebrate a heart that beats so passionately for every member who is a part of Dance Marathon at the University of Florida.

While the normal school day rush hour was in full gear, this particular afternoon called for a bit more excitement than usual. The air buzzed with enthusiasm as the DM check-in area prepared for the party. New merchandise piled on top of tables, a wall of heart-shaped birthday notes layed upright for all to see and add to, and people began to crowd together. New and old members alike were even joined by others not affiliated with our organization to partake in the celebration; it seemed as if the entire study body was here to celebrate Kinsey.

Donning her birthday crown, sash and balloon wand, Kinsey beamed as she entered the plaza and soaked in her special setup. Everybody in attendance cheered upon her arrival, and old friends made throughout her time involved in DM rushed forward to greet her.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the afternoon was when Kinsey’s buddy, Rachel Nattis, gave her a heartwarming gift. The birthday girl opened up her colorful gift bag to see a homemade picture collage of the two girls in matching “besties” T-shirts and a Target gift card. The pure joy that radiated off of her was contagious.

Nattis, a sophomore Family Relations Captain, is thrilled for the year to come.

“I personally cannot wait to make such amazing memories with Kinsey this year,” she said. “I‘m literally so excited to go to every single event with her, especially Kinsey’s all time favorite one: Moralloween.”

She also mentioned that while Kinsey had a full day of birthday plans ahead, including going to her favorite restaurant — Olive Garden — and staying with her family at a nearby river cabin, she was most looking forward to her party at Dance Marathon check-ins. She even had been counting down the minutes to it for days prior. Another highlight of the afternoon was the Morale Team’s performance of the 2021 Line Dance, as many individuals giddily joined in to revisit the choreography.

To Ryan Beany, a junior Morale Captain, DM has made his time in college more enjoyable and himself more confident. Today, he just wants to help another have the same positive experience.

“Dance Marathon is like the heart that pumps my blood,” he said. “As a second-year Morale Captain, I am so excited to change so many students’ lives.”

To capture it all, the Multimedia Team played a major role in creating beautiful mementos to remember the day forever. Rachel Friedman, a senior Multimedia Captain, embraced a full circle moment as she celebrated Kinsey and memorialized the scene.

“Our motto is to capture miracles,” she said. “It’s really great to be here as a videographer because this is a great moment to remember forever — and a miracle to capture.”

One of the most remarkable parts of the afternoon, and of DM at UF as a whole, was the way in which every person involved, regardless of his or her role, played such a crucial part in making each moment so special.

In the words of Kinsey, “I don’t even know which part of this is my favorite! There’s just so much to love!”

Wherever We Go

Written By: Hope Hathcock

Summer break is a time to refresh. To look forward to the future. Without a second thought, we make plans, not recognizing that the ability to map out our upcoming days is a blessing. The opportunity to relax is a luxury we often take for granted. While we are learning at an internship, tanning at the beach or hiking a mountain, there are still countless children in Shands Children’s Hospital who need medical treatment — and need it now.

Leukemia does not pause for the pool.

Heart defects do not halt for a trip to the city.

Mitochondrial disease does not stop for going home to your loved ones.

#WhereverWeGo this summer, we must pack our passion with us because Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is a part of all of us, and illness never takes a vacation.

Families need our help year-round, not just when we feel motivated by our classes or by our peers. We, the students at UF, define Dance Marathon. Every single member makes up the heart of this organization. Thus, we have the power to share our mission with others. We can use these weeks as an opportunity to introduce people to DM who would not normally have exposure to our cause while we are away at college. We do not need to be in Gainesville or be at the Main Event or be working during Transform Today to change lives and to make a difference for the patients fighting their hardest every day at Shands.

As Captains, Dancers, Managers and Overalls become alumni, the memories of Miracle Children stay with them, Wherever They Go.

Wherever You Go this summer, keep these boys and girls’ battles in your mind.

Wherever We Go, from Gainesville, throughout Florida, across the country and beyond, we must keep the handprints of the children at Shands on our hearts, for if not for us, who else?

Dancer’s Main Event Survival Guide

Written By: Molly Metcalf

Our Main Event is TOMORROW and everyone involved in Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is bursting with excitement! Each year around this time, we look to Dancers to get the energy pumping and ring in the big day. Our Dancers experience one of Dance Marathon at UF’s most adored traditions, and they always exceed our expectations!

Throughout the duration of the Main Event, Dancers will learn our Linedance, eat delicious food provided by our Hospitality Captain Team and hear inspiring stories from our Miracle Families. But before all of that, we want to give our Dancers an official Survival Guide for the Main Event. 

  • Keep up the fundraising work and bring it home! There is nothing like celebrating all your hard work from the year during the Main Event. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. We can’t wait to see you all energized for DM 2021! Make sure to turn the lights out early, so you are ready for the long hours ahead. 
  • Pack all the necessities. Don’t forget to grab the essentials – comfortable shoes and extra socks, a reusable water bottle, a phone charger, toiletries, extra clothes and some snacks!
  • Save some extra time the morning of. You definitely do not want to miss the special Opening Ceremony! Be sure to arrive on time, get checked in and get hyped up before the day starts. 
  • Have fun and remember your why. The Main Event is the culmination of our hard work all year long. It is meant to be a celebration, but it can also be emotional and exhausting. Make sure to have fun! Most importantly, remember why you have dedicated time to this organization to raise money for the Miracle Children at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. 

DM at UF would not be what we are without our Dancers. Dancers are the backbone of our organization and the heart of this movement at large. They are the bodies down on the Floor and spread throughout the O’Connell Center and the smiling faces in the socially distant crowd. Dancers are the love and the liveliness. The Main Event will look different this year, but we know Dancers will continue to make up an integral part of DM at UF.

March Mini Marathons Recap


Written By: Karina Wilson

March may have come and gone, but the miracles continue to roll in.

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida’s devotion reaches farther than the city of Gainesville. The army that fights for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network is not just college students. High school students unite too. 

In March, Vero Beach, The Villages, Saint Andrew’s, Palm Beach Central, Leesburg, Forest, Buchholz, Eastside, Gainesville, Belleview, Boca Raton and Wellington High School all held Mini Dance Marathons!

Mini Marathon Season is Gabbi Thaw’s, a Marathon Relations Captain, favorite season of the year. 

“What makes Mini Season so meaningful is being able to work alongside people who bring so much passion and love to the team,” Thaw said.

At the beginning of the year, the Marathon Relations Team had no clue what virtual Mini Marathons would look like, she said. However, it has evolved to be Thaw’s favorite part of 2021. 

“It’s so fun being together over Zoom and dancing virtually with the high schoolers,” she said. “Even though we may be virtual, there’s no other people I’d rather dance with, inspire with and come together with than MR.” 

She said Marathon Relations has brought out the best in her because she has the opportunity to bring out the best in the high schoolers. One of those students is Gabriela Mantilla, a senior at Boca Raton High School.

“The event this year despite all the challenges of it being online was so amazing,” Mantilla said. “It was so great to see Kinsey and get to rave with her while raising money for Shands.” 

Kinsey B. is a Miracle Child who was diagnosed with Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (AHUS), which is now believed to be a different complement disorder. Since her initial diagnosis, Kinsey has been diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder, Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) and several learning disabilities.

But Kinsey is one of a kind, and childhood illness does not stop her. Dance Marathon at UF participants know her from her smile, dance moves and the love and positivity she radiates.

“The energy was so high throughout the entire event,” Mantilla said. “There was dancing and games, overall the spirit and morale was so high throughout the night.” 

The senior has been a part of the DM at UF family since her sophomore year of high school. In 2020, Mantilla was a chair for Boca Raton’s Mini Marathon. She plans to continue her efforts when she attends UF in the fall. 

“My biggest takeaway is that it’s all For The Kids,” she said. “These kids go through so much, yet they maintain high spirits and amazing energy.” 

Boca Raton High School raised over $16,000 for the children at Shands. 

“Each and every Miracle Child inspires me every day,” Mantilla said. “I’m so glad to be able to hangout with them at DM while raising money for Shands.” 

Mini Marathons and Kirstyn’s Krew, a program that honors Kirstyn Tripp – our Miracle Child who lost her battle to childhood illness in 2018, help to spread awareness. Marsha Tripp, Kirstyn’s mother, greatly appreciates the Mini Marathons.

“I just think the Minis are so important because those high schoolers are the future of Dance Marathon going forward.” 

With only one week until DM at UF’s Main Event, now more than ever, it’s the Dance Marathon community’s #TimeToUnite.

It’s #OurTimeNow to leave a #LegacyOfHope.

March Mini Marathon totals:

  • Vero Beach: $13,207.93
  • The Villages: $7,416.79
  • Saint Andrew’s: $19,134.69
  • Palm Beach Central: $37,075.09
  • Leesburg: $1,153.63
  • Forest: $29,211.97
  • Buchholz, Eastside and Gainesville: $6,776.75
  • Belleview: $17,123.62
  • Boca Raton: $16,004.77
  • Wellington: $27,100.69

2021 Theme Hours Reveal

Written By: Olivia deMontmorency

2021 Theme Hours Reveal 

Each Dance Marathon sets itself apart from the last. Whether it is the Silent Disco, the Miracle Family stories or the Theme Hours. As our Dance Marathon at the University of Florida Main Event nears, we recognize the activities that make our event so electric and are thrilled to reveal our Dance Marathon at UF 2021 Theme Hours! This year, Theme Hours will take place in person as well as virtually, giving participants the ability to participate in whichever option they are most comfortable with. 

Grease vs. Greece (Orange Shift)

It’s a mix between your favorite ’70s musical romance starring Sandy and Danny combined with the mystical tales of Greek mythology. This first Theme Hour will include activities such as hand jive lessons, karaoke, toilet paper toga and pin the eye on the cyclops. Virtually, Grease vs. Greece participants will engage in a scavenger hunt, Zoom Olympics and trivia. 

Survivor: DM Island (Orange Shift)

Just like the television show, the Survivor: DM Island Theme Hour will test castaways – or Dancers – through a series of challenges, but no one’s getting kicked off the island on this episode. Activities for Survivor: DM Island will include kan jam, trash can/stone toss, socially distanced four corners and charades. The 2021 Linedance will also be taught throughout this hour by our very own Morale Team! Over Zoom, Dancers have the opportunity to make homemade crafts, participate in a Kahoot on survival and camping, as well as write letters to the DM at UF Miracle Families. 

Out of the Page (Orange Shift)

The pages of your favorite storybooks come to life in the Out of the Page Theme Hour. While a live band plays throughout the hour, Dancers will take part in pictionary, name that tune, charades and an exciting game of Quidditch. Virtual engagement offers a Harry Potter House quiz and a Hunger Games District quiz, to find out where your personality falls in the world of wizards and Katniss Everdeen. Let your inner book-nerd thrive in this hour of our favorite story fandoms. 

Miracles on Broadway (Blue Shift)

Time for every Dancer’s big break! Miracles on Broadway is a Theme Hour full of singing, acting, dancing and more. Get in on the act with activities such as a Broadway singalong, decorating your own playbill, karaoke, a rap battle and freeze dance. If you’re participating virtually, don’t worry about missing out on the excitement. Engage in Broadway song requests, bingo, Just Dance, flashlight singing and song trivia. Break a leg!

DM Games (Blue Shift)

It’s game time and with DM at UF, everyone’s a winner. This Theme Hour isn’t just for the sports lovers! In DM Games, Dancers partake in a wide range of challenges like giant rock paper scissors, table tennis, foam bowling, soccer and four corners. Put your gaming to the test with virtual Kahoot, Among Us, Game Pigeon and hangman. 

SS DM (Blue Shift)

All aboard the SS DM in the last Theme Hour! Join the steamship headed to the Final Total Reveal while participating in Family Feud, a limbo contest, Hula-Hoop contest, Among Us and a Game Pigeon tournament. Dancers who spend this last hour online have the option to play Among Us, Game Pigeon and go through a virtual escape room. See you on the sea! 

Hosted by the Morale Team, these Theme Hours are sure to bring even more anticipation to what will be such an impactful event. DM at UF is only days away, and we cannot wait to experience everything that makes these 26.2 hours so incredible. 

Child Life’s Legacy

Written By: Hannah Engel

This March, it is Our Time Now to come together to make a difference for the Miracle Families and to give hope to every child at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. In order to do so, Dance Marathon at the University of Florida helps fund the Child Life program at Shands Children’s Hospital. Child Life is a meaningful program that was established to help children and families cope with the stress and anxiety of hospitalization. It supplies services such as games, arts and crafts, calming treatments and so much more while aiming to make hospital visits less scary and more fun. 

The Child Life program has greatly impacted our Miracle Children and their families. Kinsey began her journey at Shands in 2004. As the years have passed, Child Life has been there to provide Kinsey and her family with support and activities to help make her time in treatment easier. 

“Sarah, an artist in residence for Arts in Medicine at Shands, has helped Kinsey pass the time and forget about her medical issues while in dialysis and as an in-patient,” said Kinsey’s mother Holly Bogart. “She has fostered a love for art in Kinsey that will last forever.” 

Child Life will continue to be there for Kinsey as well as all the other Miracle Children throughout their time at Shands. 

As we focus on leaving our Legacy of Hope this month, think about the times when you were scared of the unknown. Maybe you were scared of a test score, submitting a job application or even the dark. That feeling is what these children experience every day of their lives. Child Life is there to help them feel comfortable while facing the unknown. 

Pledge to make your impact and fight for these children at our local hospital. The money you raise will directly impact the Child Life program by funding supplies they need to make a child’s stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. 

Click here to make your pledge to fundraise in honor of Child Life.

Their Time Then

Written By: Hannah Bobek

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida and its participants are always learning and improving upon our organization because of our Alumni. Without them, we would have no one to look to for the future of our philanthropy. When someone participates in Dance Marathon at UF, he or she is forever a part of this organization and the DM at UF community. It is not only current participants who spread awareness about DM at UF but also our Alumni who play an integral role in the organization each and every day.

Arielle Darvin was involved in DM at UF from 2012 to 2016. During the first three years of her involvement in the organization, she was a Dancer and a Morale Captain. She became the Morale Overall for DM at UF in 2016 during her senior year. Below, she shares her experience with Dance Marathon, the meaningful impact it had on her life and the legacy she left on the organization:

“It is really difficult to discuss the person I am today or the trajectory my career path took without mentioning DM at UF; it really played a defining role in shaping my character and molding the way I interact with the families and children I work with. 

I truly desire to know and connect with families of children with disabilities and chronic health conditions – to really know their stories is what I strive for. I think this stems from my experiences with Dance Marathon, getting to know the Miracle Children and listening to families share their stories at events. Listening to Miracle Families express the impact that Dance Marathon and healthcare professionals profoundly had on their lives is the primary reason I decided to go into healthcare.

 Now, I work as a pediatric audiologist at a Children’s Miracle Network hospital, where I know the “Morale Overall” in me shines through every day. A wise Morale Captain of mine once said they would go above and beyond to bring Dance Marathon inspiration to those near and far in their life because it not only brought them joy, but because ‘the kids we play for can never have a big enough team.’ Dance Marathon at UF will always live in me, and I will forever be a part of this team.”

DM at UF has raised more than $24 million dollars for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital since its inception at the university in 1995. We would not have been able to achieve this without those who have come before us and paved the way for the future of our philanthropy. Their donations, efforts and support of our organization are only a few of the reasons that Dance Marathon continues to be a success at the University of Florida. 

In 2020 alone, our DM at UF Alumni collectively raised more than $82,000, and they continue to show their dedication to the organization to this day. We would not have become the most successful student-run philanthropy in the southeastern United States if it were not for the commitment of our Alumni. And while we may be DM at UF, our network of devoted, loyal Alumni spans all across the country. 

Dance Marathon Alumni formed as an official group in 2013 and has been going strong ever since. If you participated in Dance Marathon at UF in the past, you can become part of this group by signing up for a miracle or a legacy membership. Click the link here to renew your membership to join the Dance Marathon Alumni: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSebLvFrPQs3axz_5di7SBFW34eIFwmSTCf_AxfjTYcCSTQpiA/viewform