During a 24-hour stretch from Feb. 22-23, more than 1,000 participants filled the Tate Student Center Grand Hall at the University of Georgia to dance, play video games, share stories, roll down a bouncy slide and raise $507,203 to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.
Dance Marathon has served as the annual culminating fundraising event for the student-run philanthropic organization, UGA Miracle, for 18 years. The event is a symbolic gesture by UGA students who give up one day in honor of children who spend days, weeks or months in the hospital. The 24 hours are filled with concerts, special guests, competitions, food and opportunities for students to interact with current and former Children's Healthcare patients.
For this year's event, student leaders set an ambitious goal to raise $415,000, a 20 percent increase over last year's total that, if reached, would break the organization's previous record.
UGA Miracle, one of the largest student-run philanthropic organizations at UGA, hosts fundraising events throughout the year including concerts, a 5K race, tours of Athens-area homes and smaller dance marathons at local schools. Each member strives to raise more than $300 through letter-writing campaigns, smaller fundraisers and donation solicitation in downtown Athens. Including this year's numbers, UGA Miracle has raised more than $4 million since its inception.
Members of Dance Marathon leadership visit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta throughout the year to meet with the "miracle kids," learn from their experiences and provide companionship and support.