Twenty-five years, 678 total hours danced, 32,000 student leaders and more than $18.3 million raised for the kids. This is how you build the most successful student-run philanthropy in the southeastern United States and create meaningful impact.
Dance Marathon at the University of Florida, one of the five founding Dance Marathon programs in the nation, is a yearlong fundraising effort that culminates in a 26.2-hour dance marathon held in the spring on the UF campus. The event is packed with a variety of activities and supports the patients and families of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, our local Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
While Dance Marathon at UF celebrated its 25th anniversary in March, Children’s Miracle Network topped $100 million in total funds raised for the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, which was established as an affiliate CMN hospital in 1985.
This year, Dance Marathon at UF made history byraising a record amount — more than $3.2 million — supporting more than 9,400 inpatients treated at the children’s hospital each year. Funds raised from Dance Marathon at UF have been vital to sustaining construction and renovation projects in the hospital and have been used to benefit Child Life and Guest Services programs. Dance Marathon donations have been used to purchase equipment like monitors and sleeper sofas and to support pediatric research.
The extraordinary impact of Dance Marathon at UF is most palpable through the passionate volunteers who commit their time and energy to this lifesaving cause. Travus White, MD ’15, has been a proud supporter of Dance Marathon at UF since he was an undergraduate student. As a medical student, White not only started the first UF College of Medicine Dance Marathon team, but he was also the 2013 recipient of the Jen Krug award, which he won for embodying the spirit of Dance Marathon.
“Dance Marathon changed the trajectory of my career and inspired me to go into pediatrics,” White said. “The fact that you can have such an impactful student-driven organization raise so much awareness for pediatric patients is astounding. It is a unique, tangible experience for students — a true celebration of humanity.”
This story originally ran in the Summer 2019 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.