For Love. For Hope. For the Kids.

Where to begin? How do you sum up an event that will have a lasting impact on your life? How can I recant 24 hours of emotions, laughs, dancing, and inspirational children in one post? Well, here is my best effort.

Friday 4pm: The Exec board arrives to add the finishing details before dancers arrived. You could feel the excitement in the air! Thanks to Chloe, I got/had to do a [live] interview on the 5:00 news. He asked everything from what Dance Marathon is to why we don’t have energy drinks for the dancers… because we don’t need them!!!  We also had the chance to take a few pictures with Richie and Cocky as dancers came into the gym.

Richie, Palmetto Health’s mascot

Friday 7pm: Opening Ceremony!
The Bilton Family started the event off with their Miracle Story (see post from last week). Hannah and her sister got to do the countdown to 7pm when dancers would stand.

It’s almost time to stand!

Before we knew it, the 24 hours had started! Morale charged the stage and performed the 2011 DM Line Dance for the first time. Some songs featured this year were “I whip my hair back and forth”, “Teenage Dream”,  and “We gonna find you”! Morale did a great job with the dance this year – it was SO much fun to do! At the top of every hour, dancers performed the Line Dance!

Friday night:
Friday night was full of dancing, eating, and playing games for the dancers. My team worked on building a jail that would be used Saturday.

Saturday 1:40am:
Just when dancers started getting tired, Phi Sig (our Lipsync competition winners) did a live performance of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA!”  The crowd LOVED it!

Saturday [early] morning:
Dancers got to refresh with an early morning snack and ZUMBA! Of course, there was a lot more dancing!

Saturday 3:00am: “Nineties and Neon”
What would a dance party be without a RAVE? So, RAVE we did! Even Exec got in on the action.

Saturday 5am:

The band “McFly” did a concert for dancers as the sun began to rise. They are a cover-band who did everything to “Shook me all night long” to “Fat Bottomed Girls”

Saturday 6-8 am:
Around 11 hours in, we had our second Theme hour, “When I grow up…” There were very cute outfits (ballerinas. doctors and police).
Dancers also got to enjoy “Solo Circus” – literally a one man circus. He did some very strange tricks, but I think the dancers enjoyed it.

The Bell Family, another miracle family, came on stage and spoke about what our slogan meant to them [For Love. For Hope. For the Kids.] “When your child is on that hospital bed, all you have is love and hope. Keep doing this for our kids.” – Mr. Bell

Saturday (during the day):
My final event on DM Exec was Jail and Bail. For the past few weeks, I have been getting members of the Carolina Community to agree to go to jail FTK! It was so much fun to run on stage and announce who we were locking up next! We even surprised the Head Morale and locked them up too! We raised around $650 dollars so it was a successful event.

Saturday 3pm-6:30pm:
The Shelling Family came to tell their Miracle Story. This truly amazing family had  both of their children hospitalized (on separate occasions), but got to experience two miracles! Today, both kids are thriving and knew how to work the crowd. After that, members of the USC Women’s Volleyball and Basketball teams came to pump up the crowd.

In true “Forever Young” style, dancers got Recess. This was a much needed escape from the gym as dancers got to play games outside.

Saturday 6:30pm:
After 23 1/2 hours on our feet, the Closing Ceremony began. McKayla, a Miracle Child, did an AMAZING performance of “I Whip My Hair Back and Forth” in true diva fashion – the crowd went wild for her!  After that, Morale presented outstanding dancers with gift cards. I was also surprised with the 2011 Miracle Leader award for my leadership throughout the year. I was so excited and so thankful. It is always special to be recognized by peers.

Another Miracle Family came on stage to share their story. It was so touching to hear fighting cancer from a child’s perspective: “sometimes when you go to the hospital and you know something scary is going to happen, you get scared”. However, he also added “they [the hospital] have lots of video games!” with a smile from ear to ear!

Saturday 7pm:
WE DID IT! After 24 hours of dancing, it was finally time to unveil how much money we raised. Before we did that, a final Miracle Family put it all in perspective by saying “No matter if you raise 1 million dollars or five dollars, it is all out of love for our children.” With the Executive Board lined up, one by one we picked up our numbers to reveal we raised $160, 584.05 For The Kids! As Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” played, we all embraced and took in the moment.

Oh I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love

Dance Marathon 2011 will have an impact on my life. I learned that I can stand for 24 hours, and I can do it because children are doing something so much harder- fighting for life. I hope that I can continue to have opportunities to support children’s hospitals in my future.

I also wanted to thank the Miracle Makers who helped me raise $897 this year!

  • Lauren Martin Gauthier
  • Abby Eisold
  • Sara Kendrick
  • Selena Darter
  • Deborah Ayers
  • Mom and Dad
  • Neil Meltzer
  • Brooke Baker
  • David Norton
  • Barbara Martin
  • Granny and Papa
  • William McClellan
  • Bubbe and Papa Lou

Dancers could use computers for social media… still no sitting!

Miracle Kid dancing on stage

We dance so children like this can continue to dance! This is Keldon, a 9 year old who beat brain cancer!

Beauty Still Remains,


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