Every Little Donation Makes a Difference


One dollar.

It doesn’t seem like much. You could buy a piece of gum or a Blow Pop.

But $1 also buys a diaper for a baby born premature at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. 

Ten dollars buys a blood pressure cuff to monitor the vitals of a child who knows the walls of a hospital room better than the walls of his or her bedroom. 

Twelve dollars. A child gets a take-home art kit.

Fifteen dollars. A LEGO kit.

Every time a friend chooses to send a Venmo or a stranger drops a dollar bill into a bucket, the children who are right down Southwest Archer Road receive equipment that saves their lives or a toy that brings a smile to their face. Ask any parent, to see one’s child smile or hear his or her laughter – it’s priceless. 

If you ever think a small donation doesn’t count, think again. In this past year, 32% of donations were $15 or less. Moreover, that is 13,116 donations that were under $15 that made a difference in a child’s life.

We at Dance Marathon at the University of Florida adore big moments. The big reveal at the end of a grueling yet rewarding 26.2 hours. Seeing all the Miracle Children dressed up at Moralloween. Watching Morale Captains break into a Linedance. 

However, it is the little things that make the big moments memorable. Someone had to print out each individual numeral that spells out $2,526,418.24. Someone had to set up all of the booths, so a Miracle Child could go trick-or-treating. Someone had to mix the songs and sounds that hundreds of people dance to. 

So many “little” things go into a Miracle Child’s everyday life.

For Maxwell Williams, it’s tape – and a lot of it. Tape secures his PICC dressing in order to avoid infection. For Emily Monroe, it’s adhesive patches – every night. The patches protect Emily’s eyes while she sleeps. For Elie Chapman, it’s protein shakes – three times a day. The supplements maintain her energy and prevent hypoglycemia.

Elie’s mother said she never anticipated how much her family would grow to love Dance Marathon at UF. To her, the students are a part of her family.

 “As a nurse, I have seen children and their families directly impacted by the funds,” she said. “No matter how small the amount, they are seen in tangible ways.” 

For instance, donations big and small combined to fund the Arts in Medicine program, which helps Elie in times of stress while she is at Shands Children’s Hospital. This program engages patients in dance, writing, music, visual arts and contemplative arts in order to provide opportunities to deal with fear and strengthen the patient’s sense of control during a time of crisis.  

In the words of 12-year-old Elie Chapman, “A small amount could lead to big miracles.”