Cassidy Tehrani and Bridget Catalano believe that Auburn University Dance Marathon has made one of the biggest impacts of their lives. Auburn University Dance Marathon, known to be one of the University’s biggest fundraising events on campus, held their main event at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 12, 2022.
The event took place at the Student Activities Center behind Campus Recreation.
AUDM's main event consists of a nonstop party where different events and games are held in order to help raise money for Children's Miracle Network hospitals.
“It’s twelve hours of being on your feet, decked out, and dancing,” Cassidy Tehrani, junior in finance with a minor in business engineering, said.
Participants are divided into teams and are able to compete in “Olympic games” such as basketball, air hockey and lip-syncing contests.
“This year we brought in a hypnotist that could pick volunteer participants from the crowd, a talent show for the miracle kids, and we had a silent disco that ran all day,” Tehrani said.
Miracle kids can include kids with any illness or injury or who have been cared for at a Children's Miracle Network hospital.
According to the AUDM staff, the miracle families have an impact on the staff’s reasoning for returning and working the event each year. The families have opportunities to speak throughout the day about their situations and how Dance Marathon boosts their kids' confidence immensely.
“You see the babies that could fit in the palm of your hand are now able to be dancing on the stage, and it’s very motivating to donate,” Bridget Catalano, junior in marketing, said.
Tehrani and Catalano were part of the event management staff this year. They were responsible for coming up with activities to do during the event, planning the schedule and coordinating with different companies to get the supplies needed for the games throughout the day.
The staff of AUDM is divided into branches such as finance, marketing and communications. Additionally, there is a morale team, who act as the cheerleaders throughout the event, responsible for hyping everyone up.
Catalano and Tehrani admit that they have met some of their best friends through AUDM, making the day of the main event their favorite day of the year.
“We’ll all be at meetings till late, and not because we had to, but because we wanted to,” Catalano said.
While the main event is once a year, fundraising is a year long process for members of AUDM. The staff is encouraged to get creative with their fundraising and to not make it all about the money.
The main event itself was a huge success, and the organization raised a total of $273,328.22. At the end of the day, the staff, participants and miracle families participate in the Circle of Hope, where they cut off their wristbands, symbolizing freedom from the hospital and from these finances the miracle families undergo.
“It’s a reminder that this really is real. This affects people and families and this is why we keep fundraising and raising money,” Catalano said.
Last year, Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital was able to purchase a new NICU ambulance, and the donations this year are going toward building a new children's hospital.
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Virginia Shea, sophomore in pre-public relations, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman.