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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

While electronic dance music (EDM) continues to receive attention for its association with molly and other drugs, UF students are using EDM to save lives.

UF students partnered with Heal the World at UF, a student-run charity organization, to host the Friends for Benefit concert on Wednesday at 10 p.m., an EDM show in support of Hodgkin’s lymphoma research.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most curable forms of cancer, but most people cannot afford treatment, said Taylor Barnette, a UF 19-year-old psychology sophomore.

Barnette has been involved with Heal the World since 2012. She said Chantelle McHugh, a 19-year-old UF public relations junior, contacted Heal the World about hosting an event to fight Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

McHugh became involved in the Hodgkin’s community last summer when a friend was diagnosed with the disease, and she learned how many people die because they are unable to afford treatment.

“How much money your parents have shouldn’t determine the quality of your life or if you can survive something like that,” McHugh said.

The show featured Gainesville disc jockeys Shawn Castro, Parker Robinson and Mason O’Connor, and a New York-based EDM group, the Space Kadets.

Guests participated in a raffle for prizes including one Ultra Music Festival ticket, two tickets to a Disney theme park, one year of free Moe’s Southwest Grill meals and $100 in cash.

Space Kadet band member Daniel Gallardo, 25, said the group was eager to perform at the event and show the positive side of EDM music.

“I think EDM has this thing about it where it can uplift people,” he said. “It is a good cause, and at the same time (McHugh is) taking advantage of the most popular scene right now.”

The show raised about $800, McHugh said, and the proceeds were donated to UF Health Shands Hospital.

“We all love to party in Gainesville,” she said. “It’s our stigma — our reputation — so I figured why not find a party for a cause.”

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