As a remarkably challenging year comes to a close, we at Dance Marathon at the University of Florida are reflecting on some of 2020’s most notable moments. Moments of struggle and adversity, and moments of joy and triumph. This year brought forth great uncertainty and hardship, but our fight persisted through it all.
By the time March 28 was upon us, the world had already turned upside down. A pandemic hit, and the future was unknown for all. We faced a new challenge of holding a remote event for the first time. It meant no 26.2-hour uproar within the walls of the O’Connell Center, no strike of a gong for every $100 raised, and no dancing alongside our Miracle Children. Nonetheless, our purpose remained the same, and our passion grew stronger. In the face of adversity, DM at UF raised $2,526,418.24 for the families at UF Health Shands.
October brought our first in-person event since the spring, and it introduced another opportunity to create miracles. Transform Today dared us to fundraise like never before and to create change in a matter of hours. We continued our fight against pediatric illness. Yet again, in a year when hope has been in short supply, DM at UF came together and raised over $578,000.
This year, the word uncertainty took on a new meaning. The impact of COVID-19 has shown only a glance of what uncertainty truly means. A glance of the uncertainty and the fear that consumes our Miracle Children and Families each and every day. In a year like no other, 10,874 children were treated at or released from UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. When they needed it more than ever, the funds raised through our efforts went directly to research, patient care and medical equipment.
As we wrap up 2020, we recognize and praise the devoted members of this organization who continue to pave the way for this movement and to redefine the impossible. Twenty-one Overall Directors, 56 Assistant Directors, 477 Captains, 160 Emerging Leaders, 135 Ambassadors and over 800 Dancers all committed to building a better tomorrow for the Children’s Miracle Network. We may play different roles in the day-to-day operations of this movement, but our sole purpose is all the same. We do what we do to fight for something much greater than ourselves. The kids are ALWAYS fighting, and DM at UF allows us to fight alongside them.
We reflect on this year as a testament to our will to push through anything. When the going got rough, we hung onto our hope. Our Miracle Children embody that vision of hope. They are living proof that when we choose hope, we defy boundaries.
We cannot be sure of what 2021 will bring, but we certainly look forward to continuing our efforts in the fight for the next generation. It is our time to fight harder than ever before. It is our time to make those tangible impacts on our campus and in our community. It is our time to show up in greater numbers with greater determination. We are needed in the now. It is #OurTimeNow.