Dance ‘for the youngsters’ throughout pandemic: UF dance marathon raises greater than $ 2.2 million

Regardless of aching legs and toes after standing for 13 hours and 6 minutes straight – or 13.1 hours, a nod to the size of a half marathon – Brooke Peck knew she needed to see the problem till the top.

The 20-year-old UF psychology sophomore was a dancer on the twenty seventh annual UF Dance Marathon fundraiser, the place she helped elevate funds for the youngsters on the hospital for kids UF Well being Shands.

Nonetheless, the occasion that usually brings collectively a whole lot of scholars on the Stephen C. O’Connell Heart has been bodily eliminated and break up into two elements this yr on account of COVID-19.

Dance marathon raised $ 2.27 million this yr, about $ 250,000 lower than final yr. The quantity was introduced in the course of the primary occasion, which happened each on the O’Connell Heart and nearly April 10-11. The 26-hour, 12-minute occasion – supposed to simulate a 26.2-mile marathon – was the fruits of a yr of efforts to lift funds for the Miracle Community Hospitals for Kids.

Dance Marathon beneficial that anybody collaborating within the occasion self-quarantine at the very least two weeks upfront. The group imposed UF Display screen, Take a look at and Defend protocols, equivalent to bodily distancing, facial blankets, and frequent sanitation. UF college students had been required to put on a face masks always and show a “Cleared” standing on their ONE.UF portal to take part, based on the Dance Marathon web site.

The occasion has additionally undergone modifications to keep in mind safety measures. As an alternative of standing for 26.2 hours, the dancers participated in two shifts of 13.1 hours every. The primary shift was April 10 from 8 a.m. to 9:06 p.m. and the second shift was April 11 from 6 a.m. to 7:06 p.m.

Peck was impressed with the efforts of Dance Marathon officers to maintain individuals socially remoted, together with dancer relations captains, who work all year long to speak details about Dance Marathon occasions to dancers. On the O’Connell Heart, officers separated the individuals by teams of dancers, and the dancers stood on spaced flooring markers in the course of the occasions, she mentioned.

The teams consisted of round 20 dancers who stayed collectively whereas bodily transferring away from different teams and performing completely different actions on the O’Connell Heart, based on the Dance Marathon web site.

“I by no means felt unsafe,” Peck mentioned.

Members had been allowed to drink water inside however needed to go exterior to eat. Some exceptions had been made as a result of wet climate, she mentioned. As soon as exterior, the teams ate collectively at distant tables.

Exterior, Peck obtained the prospect to play Frisbee with a “miracle youngster,” one of many children supposed to profit from the Dance Marathon fundraiser.

The Miracle kids might solely attend if their medical staff authorised, based on the Dance Marathon web site. All through the day, miracle households shared their tales, both in individual – on stage or on the ground, surrounded solely by Dance Marathon officers – or nearly.

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“It is loopy to listen to a number of the issues they are going via and the way courageous and powerful they have been all alongside,” Peck mentioned. After the two-day marathon, occasion attendees met up in individual on the O’Connell Heart for the “Whole Reveal” second, which was additionally televised dwell for these at dwelling.

Through the Whole Revelation presentation, Holly Bogart, mom of 17-year-old miracle youngster Kinsey Bogart, shared Kinsey’s story of years of kidney failure and dialysis for the in-person and digital crowd. .

After a failed kidney transplant, Kinsey started dialysis remedies at UF Well being Shands Hospital, which is an hour’s drive from her dwelling. Holly cried as she remembered how her daughter handed out on her strategy to dialysis therapy in 2019.

She remembered pondering Kinsey would die that day, she mentioned.

“However once more, we acquired one other miracle,” mentioned Holly.

Since then, the Bogart household have traveled to Shands thrice every week for four-and-a-half-hour dialysis remedies on machines funded by Dance Marathon.

“Our story continues, however we’re not alone,” mentioned Holly. “I am not saying we do not wrestle, we completely do, however we’re centered on fixing the present points and we keep constructive.”

Contact Sofia Echeverry at secheverry@alligator.org. Observe her on Twitter @sofecheverry.

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Sofia Echeverry

Sofia is a press assistant in The Alligator’s college workplace. That is her second semester on paper, the place she beforehand labored as a translator for El Caimán.


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