At the second annual Saint Andrew’s Dance Marathon (SADM), Scots continued what it hopes is a tradition of footloose and fancy feet philanthropy. After dancing from early evening to late into the night on Friday, February 7, 2020, students tallied funds raised at $22,650.37 for children who are fighting pediatric illness or injury.
Dance Marathon is a national movement benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America.
SADM was founded by Kayla Kusel ‘20 and Anna DeVries ‘20 in 2018 with the help of faculty advisors, Mr. Jose Pozo and Ms. Zingarelli, the support of the Saint Andrew’s administration, and a student committee composed of over 25 students, ranging from grades 9-12.
The event was not only a huge fundraising success, but it was also an unforgettable moment for Saint Andrew’s School. The night began with opening ceremonies, thankyous, and continued with music, games, and dancing.
“With the support of faculty, staff, teachers, parents, and University of Florida students, we surpassed our goal for this year…for the kids,” said Kayla.
“We are so thankful for all the support we received at the Dance Marathon, and throughout these past two years in order to make all of these Miracles,” said Anna.
SADM was lucky enough to have two miracle children and their families join Scots at the event. “Courtney, who danced and celebrated with us last year, insisted to her mom that she come back for SADM year two,” said Kayla.
Courtney is nine years old and had very aggressive stage five eye cancer when she was four, resulting in the removal of her eye. But she refuses to hide her prosthetic eye instead, she chooses different designs and colors each time she gets a new one, including rainbow, glitter, a globe, tie-dye, and currently a blue sunflower.
“We also got to celebrate the night with Kinsey, who is 16, and another inspiration to everyone who gets to meet her,” added Anna. At 8 months old, Kinsey suffered from kidney failure. She received a kidney transplant but then suffered from another kidney failure.
Due to Kinsey’s kidney problems, she also has heart disease, bone disease, and autism. She is now on hemodialysis, spending three days a week for four hours a day hooked up to a machine. The doctors are still unsure of what is causing Kinsey’s kidney issues and hope with the help from SADM, they can learn more ways to help Kinsey.
Dance Marathon is an event held at schools to celebrate a year’s worth of raising funds for a local children’s hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Each high school event, nicknamed ‘mini’s’ is paired up with a local college to get support and assistance from a larger event.
Dance Marathon (DM) was initially founded in 1991 at Indiana University to honor Ryan White, an incoming freshman who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS due to a blood transplant. Ryan passed away before ever attending Indiana University, so Dance Marathon was created in his memory. Today, there are over 400 Dance Marathon programs in both high schools and colleges.
Saint Andrew’s students have been thrilled to partner with the University of Florida students knowing that previous UF students held one of the first Dance Marathon events in the 90s and have raised over $15.2 million in their decades of dancing.
The impressive amount raised at over twenty thousand dollars is more than just a dollar amount - it was a miracle to kids who need it.