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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Donovan set to help raise money during GatorWalk

After winning two national titles, UF men's basketball coach Billy Donovan is working for another repeat triumph - this time for premature babies.

Donovan and his wife, Christine, are working with GatorWalk to double the money raised to benefit the March of Dimes.

More than 1,000 people walked in the 2006 GatorWalk, which contributed around ,50,000 in donations, said Amanda Casciotti, the GatorWalk director.

This year, the fourth annual five-mile walk hopes to raise ,100,000 and increase involvement to more than 2,000 participants, she said.

Casciotti, a UF industrial and systems engineering senior, said this year is going to be bigger and better with many changes from previous years.

A live performance by The Pearly Whites, an Orlando hip-hop group, will provide musical entertainment this year, she said.

Local radio stations have provided the music in previous years, she added.

The event will also focus on Ambassadors, which are families that have been affected by the premature birth of a child or are strong supporters of the March of Dimes.

Betsy Trent, the North Central Florida March of Dimes assistant division director, said she's enjoyed working with the Donovans.

"They are fantastic, very supportive and very passionate about March of Dimes," she said.

The Donovans will host the five-mile walk as the honorary chairs, according to a news release.

Casciotti said students who are interested in participating can register individually or as part of a team.

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Trent encouraged all students who are interested to get involved with this year's event.

"It is so important for students to get involved because the statistics are only rising for the chances of having a premature baby," Trent said.

The walk is scheduled for Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will start on Turlington Plaza.

Registration must be completed online, and the deadline is 1 p.m. on the day of the event, she said.

Prizes will be awarded to top individual and team fundraisers.

Paradigm Properties is also supporting GatorWalk by providing a 12-month lease for a three-bedroom apartment to the top fundraiser.

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