If you're ever bogged down by the negative attention that amateur games like college football create, take some time and do a quick Google search for "college dance marathons." Every Spring, millions of students around the country culminate a year's worth of fundraising and charitable events that benefit children's hospitals and childhood cancer research with hours-long dance marathons.
One of the largest student-led events in the country is at Penn State University, where THON raises more than $10 million every year. Dancers in that marathon stand without sitting for over 46 hours and have done so every Spring since 1973. The annual University of Alabama Dance Marathon (UADM) only began in 2011, but Crimson Tide students have already built a massive event that's helping to raise money and save the lives of children who need help the most.
Over 13.1 hours, more than 1,000 students participated in the 2019 UADM held inside the Ferguson Student Center on February 23. Surrounded by the organization's Miracle Families and children who are fighting every day, Alabama students proudly announced that they raised $248,796 this year, all of which will be donated to Children's of Alabama in Birmingham.
Dance Marathon is a nationwide initiative organized and led by college and high school students to raise money for local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. In 2018, UADM set their personal record by raising $341,000 thanks in part to a late $10K donation from longtime supporter, Love's Travel Stops.
"Children's of Alabama focuses on family-centered care, which means that they care for the entire family and not just the patient. Through our philanthropy, Children's child life, pastoral care and social services departments are able to keep their focus on the family."
— Eric Ward, President of UADM
During this year's marathon, a few special guests even paid a visit to meet some of the UADM Miracle Kids that the fundraiser is directly helping.
Alabama's star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa attended the event with several other Crimson Tide players who danced, took pictures, and partied their way all around the Ferguson Student Center. Tagovailoa even stepped down from his Heisman Trophy-sized persona and allowed the kids to give HIM autographs all over his shirt.
It's such a simple gesture, but seeing young men who understand that they're larger-than-life celebrities at their university is what separates great players from legendary ones. Tagovailoa was just one of a few Alabama football players in attendance at the main event in Tuscaloosa, and all of them helped to ring in another successful year for the University of Alabama Dance Marathon.
Editor's Note: First published February 26, 2019
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