Since 1991, the Miracle Dance Movement has raised money for Children’s Miracle Network. It all began with students from Indiana University who wanted to do something in memory of a fellow student who passed away from HIV/AIDS. Today, there are over 400 Dance Marathon groups working to raising money so miracles can happen for local kids. The movement is happening in universities all across the country. This year, ECU and UNC Wilmington are having their first marathon ever. On April 7, UNC Charlotte will host its own Dance Marathon. Students will be standing and dancing for 12-hours straight for the kids who can’t. All proceeds will go to the Levine Children’s Hospital, located in Uptown Charlotte.

This year marks UNC Charlotte’s sixth year of participation in the Dance Marathon. It started as a Levine Scholars project and has now branched out as a student organization for anyone to join. There are 15 members on the executive board and 35 committee members.

Nathan Silvestri, a junior, is an involved organizer of the event. He works with companies in his fundraising efforts for the event. He first got involved with the Dance Marathon his freshman year and now serves as fundraising chair. Fundraising is a key part in the success of Dance Marathon. Last year, UNC Charlotte raised over $100,000 with 300 participants.

Nathan has a personal connection to the cause; when he was younger, his sister was hospitalized. Now, he “likes giving back to something which helped his own family.” There are countless stories like Nathan’s from people who have been impacted by the Levine’s Children Hospital. Participating in this event is a way to be a part of someone’s miracle.

This year’s goal is to recruit 500 participants and raise $110,000. To reach that goal the Dance Marathon committee is asking students to raise $49 each before the event. There will be free food, games and kids from the Levine Children’s Hospital.

Students can already sign up for the 24-hour event. Ben Shackelford, a first-time participant, signed up because he saw the group tabling. “I believe it serves a good cause in a fun and exciting way,” he said. “I am most excited for the day of the event, meeting new people and seeing the kids who we are helping.”

The Dance Marathon is also hosting Miracle Week during the first week in February, with events such as Defy Gravity Night and a tailgate for a basketball game.

To sign up for the Dance Marathon, go to charlottedm.org, grab a group of friends and start a fundraiser to make an impact on a child’s life.

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