A sea of multicolored polos could be seen from corner to corner of our campus. The feeling is almost indescribable; an organization spanning all different majors, backgrounds and interests. An organization that provides hope to the students, the doctors at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and most importantly, the Miracle Families.
In 2019, we gathered on a Tuesday morning and began a 26.2-hour fundraising event that brought us closer to one another and to a cause we feel such a deep connection to, Dance Marathon. One year later, our world has been turned completely upside down. In a time of uncertainty, our cause has never been more clear. The children at Shands Children’s Hospital need our help more than ever, and Transform Today allows us to create change in a matter of hours. It encompasses a full day and more of sharing our organization’s message, raising money for our Miracle Children and bonding with our teams and organizations – all linked through Dance Marathon.
This year, Transform Today will feature just as much excitement as years past. The day begins with our Circle of Hope Opening Ceremony on the Reitz North Lawn at 8 a.m. Throughout the day, the North Lawn will be the central hub for all things Dance Marathon: Check-Ins, activities, food and of course DM at UF merchandise! Inside the Reitz, multiple rooms have been reserved – such as the Fundraising Room, the Dancer Experience Room and the Morale Spirit Room, where participants will have the ability to safely interact with Captains, Dancers, Ambassadors and more as they learn about the importance of our cause and this event. Later in the evening, the Be The Light event will be taking place at 7:30 p.m. on Norman Field. This is an amazing opportunity to hear from a Miracle Family and listen to their impactful story. Each of these events will also be live-streamed on DM at UF’s social media for those who wish to remain virtual and still participate in our Transform Today festivities. In addition, all of our in-person events will follow CDC and UF guidelines of remaining socially distant and requiring facial coverings to be worn. After the Total Reveal on Wednesday, our annual Moralloween event will be taking place on Flavet Field and virtually through Zoom Conference.
Transform Today is more than a day of fundraising, it’s a movement. This event brings Miracle Families, Emerging Leaders, Captains and Dancers together in an unexplainable way. It only gives students a hint of the excitement of the Main Event.
“Transform Today was my first experience where I truly felt the community of DM at UF,” Morale Captain Logan Foster said. “It was the time where I truly felt united as an organization and connected with our cause the greatest.”
It’s #OurTimeNow, and with the current state of the world, we are all looking for something to hold onto. A community to comfort us. A cause to keep us looking forward. That cause is Dance Marathon at the University of Florida. DM at UF is a family that always fights for the kids, and the fight is not over until no kid suffers from a childhood illness.
To current Family Relations Captain Jenny Gilby, being a part of this organization is a heartwarming experience.
“To me, #OurTimeNow is the opportunity for us to empower each other despite the circumstances in which we are living to make a positive impact on the lives of sick and injured kids in our community,” she said. “We have the unique opportunity to come together and be a positive force for change and to support those who need it the most.”
On the eve of our 2020 Transform Today, we want to take a moment to remind ourselves of the impact our time, money and effort will have throughout these upcoming 26.2 hours. In years past, this event has brought us together to create change. In a year where the word “hope” seems to have faded in meaning to many, we as an organization and campus have been given the opportunity to provide tangible change for our Miracle Families. We stand up now, for a brighter future for children battling childhood illness. Transform Today shows us there is no time like the present. It’s #OurTimeNow.