Put on your dancing shoes


The largest philanthropy event in the nation is scheduled to take place Nov. 21 and 22 at the
UNF Arena.

The Children’s Miracle Network-sponsored Dance Marathon is the first campus-wide event of its kind, with a little more than 220 dancers registered so far.

The event will force participants to be on their feet for 18 hours straight from 6 p.m. Nov. 21, when dancers will be welcomed and divided into groups, to noon Nov. 22, when the total amount of money raised will be announced.

All proceeds will benefit the CMN at Shands Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Chair of the Dance Marathon and senior political science major Kristin Williams has been preparing for the event since she was appointed the position in January.

She received help from several committees who sought out entertainment, which will include DJs and local bands, choreographed morale-boosting dances and organized ways to raise extra money.

“Over the summer, I went to a Dance Marathon Conference in Orlando to get the ball rolling and really found out what steps to take,” Williams said. “The stuff I got to experience and meeting other people who do the same thing [as me] was awesome.”

Williams led many fundraising eventse in the last few weeks to advertise the event, and all the group donated all of the proceeds it raised to the CMN.

There will be activities in a rotating sequence on the two days of the marathon in order to keep spirits high and feet moving. “Miracle Families,” children who are patients at Wolfson’s or Shands along with their parents, will be present to tell their stories and interact with dancers.

Williams worked closely with Lauren Andry, an employee of the CMN of Northeast Florida/Southeast Georgia, who provided her with ideas and was in charge of bringing the families on board.

“The event will be a blast, and UNF should be proud of all the students who are making it possible,”
Andry said.

The last day to sign up was Nov. 14, but guests are allowed to visit participants during the long stakeout to bring them snacks or cheer them on.

The dancers registered have already raised more than $10,000, Williams said.

A Miracle Cup will be awarded at the end of the marathon to the team who earned the most miracle points. Miracle points are given to teams that participated in certain fundraising events leading up to the marathon, the Cup being awarded to the team with the most points.

Williams still has a lot of work to do, and she is now getting her “ducks in a row,” she said.

“I want everyone to come,” Williams said. “I took a tour of Wolfson’s a couple months ago, and the stories just moved me. I even considered changing my major. Once [the dancers] get there, they’ll get a real appreciation for where the money is going and how they’re helping.”

If you go to the event
WHEN: Nov. 21-22
WHAT: Spectators are allotted a two-hour time period to cheer on participants
E-mail Sarah Gojekian at [email protected]