GC Miracle Dance Marathon members raised a grand total of just over $230,000 last Saturday, slightly shy of their goal of $251,000, to donate to sponsored children at a local hospital.
The total was approximately $20,000 short from last year, but of course still beneficial “For the Kids.”
2019 marks the 16th annual GC Mir- acle Dance Marathon at GC. Participants were required to stand for a 12 full hours out of respect and to raise money for kids with life threatening diseases and conditions.
The event started at noon and was open to GC students who raised at least $55 to donate to champion patients’ families in Macon’s local children’s hospital, Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital Navicent Health.
Students work 365 days a year to collect money for the 45,000 children in need through various fundraising opportunities. These include group events such as yard sales or individually driven fundraisers, like selling old textbooks, babysitting or going door to door asking for donations.
“My absolute favorite part is watching these students grow into leaders,” said Kristy Johnson, GC Miracle adviser and assistant director of community engagement at GC. “I work with some of them for two or three years and get to see where they started and be there along the way.”
Madi Dolan, a senior business management major and GC Miracle’s director of internal affairs, raised exactly $5,003 in donations, topping all of her peers.
Some students, like Dolan, are introduced to GC Miracle’s mission during their freshman year and assume leadership positions within the organization throughout their time at GC.
“I raised $1,010 this year,” said sophomore Emmy Conrad, a psychology major. “I dyed my hair pink for $100. My parents donated. My friends donated. I sold rides and ran errands for people. You become really creative.”
Conrad participated in the Dance Marathon last year and has assumed a position as morale leader this year. “You see, ‘He has cancer,’ or ‘She has cancer’ on TV, but when you meet a kid in person, it’s a completely di erent experience,” Conrad said. “So, that’s how I knew I wanted to get more involved."
Alongside dancing, the 12-hour event was comprised of various activities, such as sharing Miracle family stories, lip syncing battles, live music, silent discos, games and a rave hour, to keep participants on their feet. T-shirt vendors and a complimentary gong were present.
“I worked with my cochair, Allison Veilhaber, to create a 10-minute long music compilation full of fun songs, vines, movie quotes, you name it,” said junior Cameron Schuler, an early childhood education major. “We choreographed a dance to it which was taught at Dance Marathon.”
Schuler has served as GC Miracle’s executive director of morale dance for the past year and said she loves the consistent dedication and work ethic she sees from her peers.
“These college students give up sleep, study time, oops, and even their own personal health to care and love on these kids,” Schuler said. “It is amazing to watch.”
To end the night, 55 morale leaders gathered on stage to lead the nal dance with GC Miracle members, compiling all the movements they acquired throughout the day.
At 1 a.m., “Rise Up” by Andra Day played in a dim room, and glow sticks and twinkly lights illuminated the stage while each GC Miracle member rang a bell, a new tradition, signaling each person’s participation, dedication, passion and group efforts “For the Kids.”
Regardless of how the money was accumulated, each dollar goes to fami- lies of children su ering from diseases or defects. Some of these include Ventricular Septal Defect with Anomalous Muscle Bundle, or holes in muscular tissue of the heart, and Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome, an autoimmune disease resulting in internal and external blisters.
“The Beverly Knight Olsen Children’s Hospital just recently had their grand opening, and that is all because of our generous donors,” Schuler said. “Thank you to everyone who supports what we do. You are truly changing lives.”
Photos by Alex Bradley | Staff Photographer