Chapstick, portable chargers, tennis balls and costumes. These are some of the things that Madison Gore brought with her to Dance Marathon Saturday.
Gore, an 18-year-old UF political science freshman, danced with her sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, for 26.2 hours to raise money for sick children.
Gore signed up for Dance Marathon in September as soon as she knew her sorority would participate.
“I had heard in high school that UF Dance Marathon was the Dance Marathon to participate in so I signed up as soon as I could,” she said.
Dance Marathon is a 26.2 hour-long fundraiser where students raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which provides financial aid to cover costs that insurance companies don’t fully cover. UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is part of that network.
The teams raise money for 74 miracle families, which are families that have children who are being treated at Shands.
This year, Dance Marathon beat its record by raising $3,230,025.23. Last year it set a record when participants raised $3,026,420.19.
Over the past 25 years, UF has raised more than $18.2 million and danced for 704.2 hours, according to a statement provided by Dance Marathon.
More than 5,000 people participated, including 825 students dancing, who helped raise funds, the statement said.
Of the funds raised for Shands, 48 percent goes to its research, 42 percent goes to its patient care and 10 percent goes to its education, said Connor Bennett, the Dance Marathon finance manager.
One of the teams that participated was the UF American Medical Student Association, which raised money for Beckett, who is part of a miracle family. The group met Bennett last year at an event.
“We instantly fell in love. He’s a little bundle of energy and joy,” said Amanda Martinez, a 22-year-old UF microbiology and cell science senior.
Martinez’s team raised more than $15,000 for Bennett. They set up multiple donation drives on Venmo, a smartphone app that allows people to send money to each other.
Gore and her sorority raised money for brothers Jude and Oliver. They were born three months early and spent those months in Shands’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Now at 7 years old, the boys face issues with asthma and some allergies, Gore said.
On her own, she raised more than $800. Her sorority raised at least $25,000.
“It’s so nice to see them as just kids hanging out with us after all they’ve been through,” she said. “It’s really cool seeing it all come together and seeing all the families we’ve been raising money for.”
Andrew Jensen, the Overall Director of Dance Marathon 2019, rocks out during the Savants of Soul’s performance Saturday night in the O’Connell Center. Dance Marathon lasted for 26.2 hours and raised $3,230,025.23 for children at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.