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,


Bucket List – Check!

Hello readers! I am so close to being able to check #13. raise over $1,500 for children’s hospitals off my bucket list!

I have personally raised $500 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and I am now working on raising money for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. So far I’m at $862 with a goal of $1000 and only a few days left before the deadline!

Please take a second to read the overview of my story under “about Ashleigh” and read about DM under “Dance Marathon”.
I am very passionate about supporting Children’s Hospitals and I ask that you will join me!

Like I said in my previous post: yes, you are helping me, but you are really doing this For The Kids!

Hannah, 2009 SC Champion. (read her story in previous post)

Donate Here!



“I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” – Wall-E

In less that one week I will participate in Dance Marathon, a party with a purpose! For almost a year now, I have been planning percent nights, battle of the band concerts, and the Trot for Tots 5k race raising money for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. During my time on the Dance Marathon exec board, I have met the most passionate people and children who  hide their adversity with laughter. This experience has truly changed my life.

I ask you to consider making a donation to USCDM to help me reach my goal of $1000. However, I am not really asking that you help me, I am asking that you help the children at Palmetto Health. Children like Hannah Bilton who fought Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia while her mother also was fighting cancer. Her strength is truly amazing. The day before Mrs. Bilton’s surgery, Hannah (5) told her, “Mom, you’re going to be okay. See, I had my port put in and I’m fine. It didn’t hurt. You’re going to be fine too.”  Today, Hannah and her mom are cancer free thanks to the efforts of Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.

I want to thank you for your continuous support. Keep checking back next weekend as I will dance for 24 hours… FOR THE KIDS!

Beauty Still Remains,

This is why I dance!


Williams- Brice is a 80,250-seat stadium. Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital serves 80,000 children a year.

Take a second and think about those numbers.

You could literally fill WB with children hospitalized this year in Columbia, SC.  Only they are not bouncing around to Sandstorm or partaking in the slow motion wave. These children are facing adversity that most of us will never know. So this is why I care so much about Dance Marathon and this is why I dance.

I hope you will join me in my efforts by registering for the event or through a donation here.


Want more information on Dance Marathon? Check out the page on my blog or visit the USCDM website here.


Trot for Tots

“What is passion? It is surely the becoming of a person…In passion, the body and the spirit seek expression… the more extreme and the more expressed that passion is, the more unbearable does life seem without it. It reminds us that if passion dies or is denied, we are partly dead and that soon, come what may, we will be wholly so.”
– John Boorman, Film Director.

The excitement of the previous night’s victory was shorted lived as anxiety for Saturday morning’s race set it. At  5:00 am my alarm started buzzing signaling the start of the day. Bright and early, as the dew was still drying from the grass, I was in the middle of the road’s chalking the race course.  Pretty much from that point on, the day was a blur of setting up, playing traffic controller, answering questions, and praying for success.

Check-in Line

Starting Line

Before I knew it, it was 2:00 pm and people…lots of people… were lined up at the starting line. As I counted off “1,2,3 For the Kids!” to signal the start of the 5k, the participants took off and I knew I had successful pulled off the race!

The 2010 Trot for Tots 5k had over 260 participants and raised over $2000.00! Everyone seemed to have a ton of fun.  I could not have asked for it to go any better.

I wanted to thank everyone who registered for the race, offered help, and kept me sane throughout the entire event!

Beauty Still Remains,

Trot for Tots 5k!

After a summer of hard work the race is finally live! If you are in Columbia on 10.10.10, please register. You can run, walk, crawl … just come out and support USC Dance Marathon!

Proof of Race Shirt

How to register:

1. Go to
2. In the middle column it says “register online for any SC running event!” – click there
3. Select race “Trot for Tots” on Oct. 10, 2010
4. Fill in the required info
Prior to Sept. 29: Run/Walk = $20
Sept. 29- Oct. 10: Run/Walk = $25
You can also be a Phantom Runner. This just means you will not actually attend the event, but would like to make a donation to Dance Marathon.

Questions from the public: (5k in subject line) or leave a comment!

Here’s to Summer 2010

Today is my last Friday of summer. Monday, sorority rush camp starts, followed immediately by rush and the start of the school year – my senior year of college. I cannot believe how fast time passes. I can remember moving into my dorm freshmen year like it was yesterday. I can remember the relief I felt to call myself a sophomore, no longer “fresh-meat”. I can remember the excitement I felt as I moved into the first apartment that I truly loved my junior year. And now, here I am, already a senior having spent my first summer away from home in Columbia. As I look out the window of the new condo at our fenced in patio complete with flowers and a cute little shed, I cannot believe how much I have grown and matured over the past three years. Just three short years ago I was completely different. I was scared and unsure of myself. Heck, I wanted to study fashion. Now, I am more confident and happy than ever and although I have no clue where I will end up after this final year or what I will be doing, I am sure that I am going to be doing what I love and making a difference in this world.

Here’s to Summer 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Trip and I in 5 Points

Ran the Peachtree Road Race


Beauty Still Remains,

Pepsi Refresh Project

So I may be from Atlanta, the home of Coca Cola, but I can still support Pepsi for this one…

Pepsi is currently running a “Refresh Project” where they are looking for people, businesses and charities with ideas that have a positive impact in their communities. Each month, people can vote for their favorite ideas and the top 10 ideas get money…lots of money!

USC’s Dance Marathon is in the running for $20k at the end of August, but we need help to get into the top 10!

Voting is really easy. Go to and click “vote for this idea”. You will be prompted to create a profile, but it takes 5 seconds. You can vote EVERY DAY until August 31st.

Please, please vote for USCDM. Receiving the 25k will put this year’s Dance Marathon over the top!

For Love. For Hope. For the Kids.


For Love. For Hope. For The Kids!

I’m raising money again! All contributions will benefit Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, our local Children’s Miracle Network hospital in Columbia, SC.  I will have more information soon, but my goal is $500 by November!
If you would like to go ahead and help me get started, you can view my personal donation page here!

Here is something else you can do that quick and easy:

Download this toolbar and help us raise money For The Kids!

We have something new and exciting we’d like to share with you! It’s the new University of South Carolina – USC – Dance Marathon – USCDM toolbar – once added to IE or Firefox, each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to University of South Carolina – USC – Dance Marathon – USCDM – at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!). The toolbar also has a search box and each time you search the Internet, about a penny is donated to University of South Carolina – USC – Dance Marathon – USCDM.

And please pass this along to all of your friends. The two minutes it takes to add this toolbar to your browser can make a lifetime of difference!

Get the toolbar NOW!

Please see my “Give” page for more ways you can help. I have a lot of friends doing  great things for our community and would love if you could help them out!


P.S: Please check this out too:

Walk to Defeat ALS

Justin P, one of my good friends, is raising money in memory of his dad.

“I am walking in the Walk to Defeat ALS on this coming Saturday, April 24th, in memory of my dad. Many of you may know that he passed away last October due to the disease. This walk means a lot to me, and it would be awesome to meet my goal of $200. Any little bit helps and if you can’t or don’t want to donate, then you can just join the team to show your support! Thanks so much everyone, and check out this page for more details.”