Dancing all night, for the kids
By Megan Sexton, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-1421
University of South Carolina students pulled an all-nighter Friday – for a good cause.
More than 800 student dancers and another 120 volunteers participated in USC Dance Marathon, dancing all night to raise money for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
The 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping event paid off – in a big way. This year, Dance Marathon raised $224,510 for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
The dancers packed the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center for Dance Marathon, the largest student-led philanthropy in South Carolina. All of the funds raised through Dance Marathon stay in the community and are donated to Columbia’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is the only freestanding children’s hospital in the state and treats more than 80,000 children each year.
"Dance Marathon is so important to me and the USC community because it has a lasting impact on everyone involved,” said Jillian Kral, a senior tourism management major from St. Charles, Ill., and the overall Dance Marathon director. “Dance Marathon has the power to not only engage Carolinians to take part in our mission to save children's lives and give them hope, but to empower students across campus to challenge themselves and be a part of something bigger. I believe that is one of the greatest lessons you can give someone."
During the 24 hours, USC students learned several line dances, took part in games and contests and enjoyed live entertainment from musicians and performance groups. Dancers also had the chance to meet and hear stories from “miracle children” who have been treated at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
“We stand for the kids who can’t,” Kral said.
Earlier this year, USC Dance Marathon organized minimarathons at two Columbia schools, raising more than $52,000 and helping build future leaders and philanthropists along the way.
This is the second year Dance Marathon helped sponsor the mini marathon at Cardinal Newman, and the first year Hammond was involved. For senior Lauren Nottoli, a public relations major and political science minor who led the mini-marathons, working with the high school students offered a chance to help younger students get an early start on learning leadership skills.
“The great thing about this is it lends itself to leadership experience. You don’t have a club in high school that teaches you to recruit people for a cause,” said Nottoli, who grew up in Columbia and is a Cardinal Newman alumna. “And if you want to work for a nonprofit or a university, this helps you get to learn these ideas early on. It builds leadership skills applied to real-life situations.”
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