January 17, 2013
BENEFITING: UNC DANCE MARATHON
EVENT DATE: Feb 16, 2013
HOURS PLEDGED: 25
In the simplest terms, The UNC Dance Marathon is a student-run nonprofit organization at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We are the largest student fundraiser on campus and we work year round to raise money to benefit the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital. Our fundraising efforts culminate in a 24-hour celebration where hundreds of UNC students show their support for the patients and families by standing on their feet for the entire event.
Money raised by The UNC Dance Marathon primarily funds the “For the Kids” Fund. This fund helps with costs not covered by insurance or Medicaid, providing families with necessities-- such as gas cards, phone cards, meals and rent-- that families cannot pay for due to their child’s hospitalization. With these needs taken care of, parents can focus on their child’s health and well-being during an already difficult time.
We also provide divisional grants, such as our grants with the Center for Clinical Excellence, UNC Children’s Lung and Asthma Center, Healthy Steps Program, and many others in 2010. Through these grants we are able to fund a variety of initiatives within N.C. Children’s Hospital in order to fulfill our mission of improving the quality of life for the patients and their families.
However, the UNC Dance Marathon is better described as an experience. No matter what type of interaction you might have with this effort, it has a similarly life-changing effect in the lessons learned and feeling evoked.
For some, the UNC Dance Marathon experience lasts 24 hours. 1,600 students sign up to raise $150 and take a physical stand for the kids, and at the end of the 24th hour, not one can say that they were unchanged. Performers join onstage to help celebrate, restaurants donate food to help energize, and families tell their heart-felt stories to help remind us why we are here. In the final minutes of the event, the year’s fundraising total is announced and all 1,600 dancers sit down in unison, yet cannot help but jump right back up in celebration and awe of what has been accomplished for the kids.
For others, that experience is year-long. The day, even the very hour, after each 24-hour marathon ends, someone is thinking of the next year. Plans are being made-- and then executed by 300 committee members who might stand with donation jars at UNC football games; or organize golf, tennis, and kickball tournaments; or call local business to solicit donations for the next year’s dancers; or volunteer on Tuesday nights to serve dinner to the parents of children at N.C. Children’s Hospital. These students make The UNC Dance Marathon last for more than 24-hours-- they make it last for an entire year. In that year, they learn to put aside many of the aspects of a “typical” college career in favor of an experience that truly cannot be paralleled.
Still for others, The UNC Dance Marathon is more than a one night-- or even a one year-- experience. For the patients, families and staff of N.C. Children’s Hospital, The UNC Dance Marathon has the potential to make a lifelong difference. Our dream and a vision to positively impact lives of patients and families have enabled us to support the hospital’s initiatives, ranging from paying bills through the For the Kids Fund to decreasing hospital acquired infection rates through the Center for Clinical Excellence. This impact, whether small or large, can make a world of difference in a child’s experience at N.C. Children’s Hospital. It is the motivator for the every UNC Dance Marathon committee member, volunteer and dancer as they continue to work relentlessly year after year to affect another life.
Therefore, while we can try to explain the organization in a few words, it is the individual experiences of the people who interact with The UNC Dance Marathon that make us who we are. The UNC Dance Marathon could not be successful were it not for each relationship with have built through our work, whether with a student, doctor, parent or child. We hope that The UNC Dance Marathon experience can continue to extend further, uniting the campus, community, and state in support of our mission to improve the quality of life for the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital.