It’s been a while since I have blogged, but I am so excited to write this post! So excited in fact, I had to force myself to go to bed last night (well, this morning if you want to get technical) instead of staying up even later to write. About a week ago, I applied for yet another leadership position on the executive board for a philanthropy event at USC called Dance Marathon (DM). For those of you who are not familiar with DM, here is an excerpt from their website:
Dance Marathon at the University of South Carolina is the largest student-run philanthropy on campus. It is an annual 24-hour event held in February that celebrates the culmination of efforts to raise financial and emotional support for the patients of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, located here in Columbia. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital is a member of the Children’s Miracle Network and is the largest freestanding children’s hospital in the state, serving over 80,000 children throughout South Carolina.
Dance Marathon is not a competition and does not even require the ability to dance! While dancers are taught a fun and easy line dance throughout the course of the event, they also take part in fun-filled games and contests, as well as enjoy entertainment from musicians, comedians and performance groups. Dancers are visited by miracle families, who share their touching stories with the dancers- reminding them that what they are doing is making a difference in the lives of others. The event lasts for 24-hours, symbolizing the difficult times that a family can sometimes undergo when a patient is undergoing treatment.
In 2009, USCDM had a record-breaking year, raising over $111,000 for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and employing over 1,100 students. Currently in its 12th year of existence, Dance Marathon at USC has raised over $700,000 to help improve the lives of over 80,000 children throughout the state. (www.uscdm.org)
My freshmen year at USC, I danced from 1am – 7am at the largest dance party on campus. I had a blast learning silly dances to popular songs and listening to cover bands throughout the early morning hours. What made the event even better was that I was participating in an event that was helping very sick children.
Flash-forward almost two years later to one of my last blog posts:
At the time I started writing this blog, I was unsure of what direction in marketing I wanted to go. The more I wrote about my spine, the more I realized how my journey and experience growing up with scoliosis could have been so very different if my family would have just been presented with more information. When I close my eyes and picture my future- I would love for it to include a career in nonprofit marketing advocating bracing for children with scoliosis…
Another task on my Bucket List is to plan a race for scoliosis awareness. After tirelessly searching the Internet for races benefiting scoliosis, and not finding a single one, a spark within me has been lit. In my opinion, which may be biased, I do not believe there is enough education about scoliosis. I know for a fact that children, especially in middle school when scanning begins, think it is an embarrassing deformity that will cause them to be shunned by their classmates. I was one of those kids and I want to change that. I truly believe I was given scoliosis for a reason and I plan to take action!
Ok, this brings us up to speed…
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have just been selected as a member on the executive board for Dance Marathon 2011. Tuesday night, in the middle of the horseshoe at midnight, we had our induction ceremony where our exact positions were revealed to us. I cannot put into words how excited I was when they said, “Our new Community Events Coordinator is Ashleigh Meltzer”. I literally wanted to take a victory lap around the horseshoe! Why was I so excited to plan community events? Well, my main responsibility will be planning a 5k race in the fall where all proceeds will go to Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, a Children’s Miracle Network hospital. I get to plan a charity race for a children’s hospital right here in Columbia!
This truly is an opportunity of a lifetime and I feel so blessed to have been given the responsibility of making it happen. A few months ago, I was talking to a friend about me being stumped with my “scoliosis story”. He told me that there was no way my story was done, I just needed to wait for what would happen next. I truly believe that working with Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Miracle Network, and Dance Marathon is going to lead to something big in my future. I have no doubt in my mind that this is my calling in life and I am so excited to have an opportunity like this while I am still in college. What a great way to spend the end of my junior and my whole senior year!
My mind is already spinning with ideas and the list making has already begun! However, seeing as I have never done this before, I am open to all suggestions of what could make this race a huge success.
Keep checking back for updates!
I’ll go ahead and make this announcement: All of my family and friends who run… I expect to see you at my race! 🙂