If you are an FSU student, I'm sure you've seen someone sporting a trendy piece of Dance Marathon merch, someone with #FTK in their Instagram bio, or even someone repeatedly annoying you for a "small donation." While the overwhelming nature of Dance Marathon may rub you the wrong way when you're not involved with it, I swear that every single post, donation, and miracle maker you come across have the best intentions: raising money for the kids at Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville, FL and the FSU College of Medicine Outreach Programs.
With all of this being said, there is exactly ONE MONTH and ONE DAY until the start of the annual Dance Marathon. So in honor of that, here is 11 things you need to know about Dance Marathon at FSU.
1. There's more to it than just the event.
Those of us who participate in DM will tell you that we fundraise for MONTHS leading up to the event. In addition to this, most of us attend so many events (especially during Rally Week/Miracle Week), share-its, and meetings... SO MANY MEETINGS.
2. There are so many teams of people that go into making this event perfect.
Once you enter the world of Dance Marathon, you will realize there are so many different teams that play a major role in creating the event of a lifetime for our dancers and the miracle children. Under our management (five extremely dedicated individuals), there is our CORE team, then the Captains and InspiratioNOLEs who all play a part in creating the experience of a lifetime for the dancers and fundraisers.
3. There is a team that works specifically with local Tallahassee high schools to help them put on their own marathon.
I may be biased, but High School Programs is definitely one of the best teams DM at FSU has. High School DM's are practically every weekend the month leading up to our marathon, so we are essentially juggling 8 marathons as a team including our FSU marathon.
4. The line dance is EPIC.
When you hear those sirens, you know it's about to go DOWN. Grab your partner and get ready to sing and dance your heart out.
5. We donate to two beneficiaries.
I'm sure if you're not part of DM you're not totally sure what "kids" we're talking about when we say For The Kids. Well, here's the truth: 50% of our fundraised money goes towards our local Children's Miracle Network hospital, which happens to be Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville. The other 50% goes to FSU College of Medicine's outreach program to help aid the severely struggling schools in the Gadsden County area.
6. Your DM friends are your best friends.
I came to FSU knowing a lot of people, but not with a lot of close friends. Thanks to Dance Marathon, not only do I have friends, I have a family.
7. It can be exhausting.
All of the fundraising, as well as persistently agging people, can get really tiring. It's the worse after those long fundraising pushes like Statement Day. What keeps me going personally is the amazing, brave miracle children... and of course the cool pins.
8. You get incentives for hitting fundraising milestones.
A lot of people don't realize that for each milestone, otherwise"sexy number" you hit, you can receive incentive prizes (i.e. DM FSU Tumblers, backpacks, and comma club shirts). You can also, as a regular dancer get a certain amount of time to sit during the marathon if you hit a certain amount of money fundraised! If you didn't know, now you know. #YoureWelcome.
9. You will spend all your money on merch.
Let me tell you - I wouldn't be a broke college student if I wasn't part of Dance Marathon. Every single piece of merchandise is SO cute and a lot of the things you buy will result in money returned into your donor drive account. Talk about a WIN-WIN!
10. You will never FULLY understand your impact until you visit Shands.
I took my first trip to Gainesville to visit Shands Children's Hospital in early January and I have never been so emotional. The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals put the balloon stickers on everything that Dance Marathon funds and seeing that, on top of seeing sick children cooped up in the hospital, made me that much more passionate and determined to raise money for them.
11. The Miracle Children make it all worth it.
As 2 Chainz said, "they ask me what I do and who I do it for." At Dance Marathon, we do it #FTK. The miracle children are such fighters that it's only right to do what we can to make their hospital stays more enjoyable, research more accessible to cure them, and to help ease the financial burden an illness can bring on a family.
With the marathon being just about a month away, I beg you to donate to a friend and help them hit their goal. There is no better feeling than seeing that arrow fill up on your donor drive. If you are interested in becoming part of the movement, check out dmfsu.org.
Happy Marathon season!