Written By: Karina Wilson
It was #TimeToUnite on Feb. 13 as we laced up our sneakers to embark on the Miracles in Color 5K as one unstoppable movement. Over 3.1 miles were walked for those who could not — For The Kids.
All proceeds from Miracles in Color were donated to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The course started at Flavet Field and ran through the University of Florida campus. At each color station, runners were doused in an array of vivid color. This year, DM at UF offered a virtual 5K option due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether people ran, walked or participated virtually, it all made a difference.
In all kinds of weather, we all stick together. For Victoria Leary, a Morale Captain, this rang true. Through rain and shine, the Dance Marathon at the University of Florida family prevailed.
Leary said Miracles in Color was a great way to finish off Spring Dancer Week and to get participants excited for this semester. Different shifts for runners helped to create efficiency and maintain a safe flow of people who could remain distanced, she said.
“Miracles in Color was my favorite event from last year, so I was really excited for this year’s event,” Leary said. “Everyone did an amazing job pulling it off.”
The 5k was also a way for Captains, Emerging Leaders, Dancers and supporters to safely meet and interact with Miracle Families. Mateo H. has hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Before he was even born, doctors predicted that he had no chance of surviving. UF Shands Congenital Heart Center took a chance on Mateo. He has received two intense open-heart surgeries that prepared his body to live with only half a heart.
He is now a playful, smart, determined, soccer-loving little boy who enjoys hanging out with his older brother. Mateo’s family said he loved the Miracles in Color 5K.
“We thank you guys for doing these types of events for our kids,” Mateo’s mother said. “You guys push them to do amazing things.”
Miracles in Color is more than just a 5K: It is an opportunity for the Dance Marathon community to tangibly see what it is working for and is reflective of DM at UF’s impact. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to visualize the Main Event, and it was inspirational.
“We feel so proud of him that he walked three miles,” Mateo’s mom said. “That is a tremendous milestone for him.”
During the #TimeToUnite campaign, DM at UF will continue to advocate for change. It is time for us to show every child fighting at Shands that they have an entire army standing with them.
There are 52 days until the Main Event at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Miracles in Color 5K was just the beginning of this year’s final push.