Dance Marathon at the University of Florida started over 27 years ago by students inspired by the efforts of Children’s Miracle Network and the strength of the children battling life-threatening illnesses. This organization’s year-long efforts all culminate in the annual life-changing event where Miracle Children, families and students come together to fundraise, share stories, make lifelong friends and ultimately, dance – all for the kids at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.
Each year, over 800 Dancers gather in the O’Connell Center and begin their journey dancing on their feet. Dancers are able to hear the compelling stories told by the Miracle Children and their families at the event while experiencing the gratitude these children have for this organization. Standing for the Main Event gives Dancers the opportunity to put the minor inconveniences in their own lives in perspective and to appreciate the strength the Miracle Children exemplify every day. Being surrounded by students with the same passion and positive mindset inspires everyone to keep dancing, even in the last hours of the event.
Thanks to the Morale Captains, Dancers are able to keep their spirits high throughout the entire weekend. Each Dancer is taught the Linedance at the beginning of the event. All of the Dancers come together every hour to perform it flash mob style! Themed hours allow Dancers to show off their creativity and personality – with no costume being too over the top. If the excitement of hundreds of students dancing together under one roof is not exciting enough, the late night hours at the event help create the most memorable moments for Dancers. The Rave and the Silent Disco are always highlights of the event and keep everyone awake and excited to dance through the night.
Students at UF fundraise to claim their spots as Dancers in the annual event. Because of the passion and determination of these Dancers, this event has been able to raise millions of dollars each year to support the patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. The hours are long and exhausting, but they help build a deep connection to both the mission of Children’s Miracle Network and the families who have courageously shared their stories. Being a Dancer is more than just the hours spent on your feet. It is being one of the faces in the crowd that shows the Miracle Children that we are here, and we are fighting for them.
Sarah, who has been a Dancer three years in a row, said she first registered to dance after hearing about the event from the older women in her Panhellenic chapter.
“They talked endlessly about how amazing it was and how much of an impact it had on so many people,” Sarah said. “I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Hearing the Miracle Families tell their stories was the most rewarding aspect, for it allowed her to see how grateful they are for everything this organization does for them, she said.
“Being a Dancer has changed me by putting my life into perspective,” Sarah said. “I think about inconveniences in my life, and I realize how small they are in comparison to these Miracle Families.”
Her biggest piece of advice to future Dancers: Stay positive – you get out what you put in!
The experiences that one gains as a Dancer follows you through your college years and shapes you into the person you aspire to be. Your efforts will impact the lives of so many children and will continue to create a better future for the ones who need it most. Register to dance today because it’s #OurTimeNow to fight harder than ever before.
Click here to register to dance for our 2021 Main Event: https://floridadm.org/dancers