Dancing is supposed to be fun. It is a form of expression that speaks with no words. For some people, or organizations, dancing can also be hard work, work that pays off for hundreds of kids in Atlanta. That is the mission of UGA Miracle, a student-run philanthropic organization and the official philanthropy of Greek life at UGA that supports Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Recently UGA Miracle hosted their 5th annual Miracle at Midnight event at Hedges on Broad. As executive board member Jackson O’Brien, a senior from Atlanta, GA who grew up going to CHOA, said, “Miracle at Midnight is such a fun event because we essentially just rave and try to hype up our members for $100 day. The significance of the event is that when the clock hits midnight, we officially start $100 day and have exactly 100 days to Dance Marathon.”
O’Brien said, “$100 Day is one of the most exciting and absolutely craziest days for our organization. It is a day we have in the first week of November where we challenge every member of our organization to raise $100. We always expect a lot out of our members but every year they blow us away more and more.” Last year, UGA Miracle was able to raise over $265,000 in 24 hours. This year, they raised their total to a little over $352,000.
All of this hard work and fundraising eventually pays off at the organizations final event of the school year, Dance Marathon, in February. According to O’Brien,
“Dance Marathon can be summed up by two simple words: community and hope.
- When it comes to community, Dance Marathon and UGA Miracle provide a home for nearly 4,000 students and faculty members at the University of Georgia.
It is really neat that one event and one organization can bring all of these people together to celebrate such a special place (CHOA) and such a brave group of kids. Hope is such a big word for our organization because that is ultimately what we are trying to accomplish through our events and fundraising.
- Every dollar we raise goes directly to our hospitals
- The money provides the services for our families or it goes to research that is working to beat childhood cancer
So while we are not the ones in the hospital rooms performing the surgeries or in the labs doing the research, we are doing our part here in Athens to provide these people with the resources to do these things and provide our families with the hope and support to get through these tough times.”
Jackson says the biggest misconception with Dance Marathon “is that people think it’s 24 straight hours of dancing which (thankfully) it is not. I would describe Dance Marathon as a 24-hour party to celebrate the families, hospitals, and UGA students that make this organization such a special place.” While there is a lot of dancing, there is also musical performances, family stories and meals catered from Athens restaurants. If you are still curious as to what this event entirely entails, let members of their exec explain…
Since 1995, the organizations inaugural year, they have donated over $7 million dollars to CHOA. Two years ago, Miracle raised over $1,000,000 for the first time in the organizations history, an experience that O’Brien described as, “a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life and will be one of the highlights of my time in the organization and my time in Athens.” In 2017, they raised over $1,350,000 and officially became the #1 largest donor to CHOA. These Miracle dawgs are continuing to exceed their expectations and push their own boundaries, just like the dawgs on the football field, both striving to be #1.
*If you are interested in registering or donating to Dance Marathon to help support kids in need, follow this link.