This semester, I'm raising money for Dance Marathon, which is a student-run philanthropic organization here on campus--the largest one, in fact. Each year, they host a 24-hour dance marathon to raise money for the NC Children's Hospital. Let's be honest, at first, I only signed up to dance because who doesn't want to reenact this epic Gilmore Girls episode?
But on Saturday, as Allie and I dragged ourselves out of bed, cursed the cold, and participated a 5K for DM, I got the opportunity to hear from a parent and child, who had both personally been affected and helped by Dance Marathon, I was surprised by how much her story mirrored my own.
Her father spoke to all the runners after his experience with the Children's Hospital and the 107 days he and his wife spent there with their daughter. Hearing his perspective made me realize for the first time what my parents must have gone through with their 52 days in the hospital with me. I thought about the emotional, mental and physical toll this takes on parents and I know that mine spent 1, 248 hours eating take out, sleeping in uncomfortable chairs and watching me to make sure I was still breathing--because there were times when I wasn't. My parents made it through those 7 weeks and 3 days with the support of family, friends, doctors, nurses and groups like Dance Marathon.
As a public institution, the NC Children's Hospital only receives 6% of it's budget from the state, so the money from DM truly makes a difference. Over 15 years, this single organization has donated over 3.3 million dollars to this institution which serves over 70,000 children from right here in North Carolina. The efforts of Dance Marathon have improved the Neonatal Critical Care Unit, one much like where I spent the first month and a half of my life, and begun the hospital's first pediatric palliative care program (I will fully admit to tearing up just at those words), as well as providing funds for smaller projects, like a program that brings hot meals for parents who have a child undergoing treatment at the hospital, so they don't have to worry about getting it themselves.
A lot of times, when you donate to a cause, you don't know where it's going. For this, I promise you, 100% of the fundraising total from Dance Marathon goes right to a building approximately six blocks up the road from my dorm.
So, yes, I'm asking you for money. I'm asking you to help me improve the life of a child and their family, who have much more important things to worry about than where their next meal is coming from or if their child is getting the best care. This way, we can help reassure those fears.
If you have an extra dollar or two, please donate here: http://www.crowdrise.com/theflashmobuncdance2013/fundraiser/briannenarey
If not, please send up a prayer, good thought, support, love--to all those families spending their holidays seasons right up the road from me.
For The Kids,