It’s not too late to join today’s Olympic Heights’ Miracle Network Dance Marathon, a fundraiser for sick children

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Last year’s Olympic Heights’ Miracle Network Dance Marathon raised over $6,700 for children battling severe illnesses.

According to its website, “Miracle Network Dance Marathon is a movement benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America.

Dance Marathon is a recognized movement “for the kids.” 

“Since its inception, Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $300 million for kids across North America- ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone,” the website description continues. “Every year schools across North America…take part in Dance Marathon where they ‘[make] an impact on local kids.’” 

For the past three years, the Olympic Heights Student Government Association has had the privilege of hosting the Miracle Network Dance Marathon. This year’s Dance Marathon at OH wi has been moved to an online platform due to COVID-19 safety protocols and will be held today, Feb. 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

OH students can still participate by buying a $10 shirt from the OH SGA. A link for admission to the online site will then be sent to their student email address. Students who stay the whole three hours of the event will earn 15 community service hours. Throughout the event, there will be fun games and, of course, a lot of dancing.

Many OH students have a special place in their heart for this event. OH senior Lexi Charlip, who is part of the OH Miracle Network Dance Marathon production team, says, “I take part in Dance Marathon because I love engaging with the kids and meeting new people.” 

Dance Marathon gives students a new perspective of their community by bringing children in that need their help. Charlip adds, “I fundraise for the kids to provide them with the treatments they need for their illnesses.” Lastly, Charlip’s main goal is to “is to hit $10K” by the time the dance marathon is completed.  

The Miracle Network Dance Marathon got its start when 13-year-old Ryan White, a big Indiana Hoosiers fan was diagnosed with AIDS which he contracted “through contaminated blood transfusions he received for hemophilia.” Throughout the next few years, White endured many challenges with perhaps the most devastating being when his school district, after being made aware of his diagnosis, said he could not return to school. 

White and his family challenged the ruling court, eventually winning his right to return to school. However, after a bullet was fired into his home by someone not happy having an AIDS-diagnosed child being allowed to attend school, the White family moved.

In 1990, White lost his battle with AIDS, passing away the spring before he was supposed to attend Indiana University. The following year in 1991, students at Indiana University founded Dance Marathon in memory of White. 

As the Miracle Network states, it’s “this generation fighting for the next.” Dance Marathon at the University of Florida has several mini-marathons throughout Florida. In fact, 24 high schools, including OH, take part in the mini-marathons connected to UF. The money that the mini-marathons raise goes towards UF’s grand total of their Dance Marathon. Then, that money raised goes to help the children at UF Health Shands Children Hospital. 

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