Three Teams, One Dream

Three Teams, One Dream. UF, FSU and FAU may have different team mascots and colors, but our three universities have one important thing in common, and that’s Dance Marathon. 

All three of our Dance Marathon programs raise funds to support UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital over the course of the school year and during each very special event. Our three schools also share eight Miracle Children! Nate, Powie, Ayden, Dani-Lynn, Bella, Sage, Jude and Oliver are a few of the reasons why we come together as one team. 

In the 2018-2019 school year, our schools raised a combined total of $5,688,060.86 for UF Health Shands. Of all that money raised, 42% goes to patient care, which includes necessities like patient gowns and helping fund the newly expanded pediatric infusion clinic where patients receive chemotherapy and other treatments. 48% of our funds also go to research in the hopes of finding solutions for incurable diseases like cystic fibrosis and cancer. 10% of the funds our schools raise goes to education, which includes the Child Life and Arts in Medicine programs that help children and families cope with the stress and anxiety of being in a hospital. These programs help children understand their illnesses but also provide them with support and distractions during medical procedures. 

Three Teams, One Dream takes place during the week of Thanksgiving to recognize our sincere gratitude that we have for every individual who supports our cause, from fundraisers and donors to the incredible doctors, nurses, researchers, and staff at UF Health Shands who make such amazing medical strides. UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in five specialty areas of cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, pulmonology, cancer, and neurology and neurosurgery for the 2019-2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings. 

We may be three separate teams, but we unite as one force for our one shared dream. We are proud to stand alongside these programs as we combine our efforts to help make UF Health Shands the premier pediatric health center in Florida.

Arden’s Miracle Story

Happy Miracle Monday! 

Today we want to share the story of one of our Miracle Children, Arden. We hope Arden’s story inspires you to face anything that lies ahead in your week with courage!

Arden was only 3 months old when doctors told her parents that she needed a heart transplant. Until her heart was ready, Arden and her family were sent to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital where she was put on a ventilator to help keep her alive. This life-saving machine Arden used was purchased with funds from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Arden finally received her heart transplant, but soon after, her doctors learned that she has a rare and progressive disease, Leigh’s Syndrome, a type of Mitochondrial Disease.

Because there is no cure for Leigh’s Syndrome, Arden and her family visit UF Health Shands frequently to monitor her progress and best treat any side effects she may have. Arden and her family have been able to see the direct impact that Dance Marathon and CMN have on the patients at UF Health Shands. The medical equipment used by Arden, and even the toys she played with in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, were all funded by Dance Marathon and CMN. From the ventilator that saved Arden’s life, to the toys she played with while she was healing, the money we raise as a campus helps children in every aspect of their lives. 

Arden continues to defy the odds of medical professionals. Through time in her therapy room, she has started to regain some of her strength, now being able to sit up straight by herself, with no support. Arden also just celebrated the 7th anniversary of receiving her new heart! At school, her classroom was covered in heart decorations and her classmates all wore matching heart t-shirts to celebrate Arden’s milestone. Her teacher even got a few heart-related gifts for her.

Arden’s previous Family Captain, Michaela, who spent many years with her and her family, expressed, “Arden shows us through her strength and resilience that limits and timelines don’t exist. She continues to push forward each and every day.”

Thank you for supporting children like Arden and helping them reach impossible milestones.