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Blazer-a-thon: Dance Marathon hosts fundraiser for kids

VSU’s Dance Marathon will host its annual Blazer-a-thon from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 17 in the Student Union Ballrooms A, B and C.

Blazer-a-thon is an event that raises money for the “Miracle Families” that have had kids helped by Shands Hospital for Children located in Gainesville, Fl.

“Our purpose is to raise awareness, help raise money for the kids treated at Shands Hospital for Children at the University of Florida and stand for those who can’t,” Sara Whetsell, recruitment chair for Dance Marathon, said.

Crishaun Johnson, marketing chairperson for Dance Marathon, described the process.

“Registered organizations sign up as teams, stand for 12 hours [no sitting], and vow to raise $98 for Shands Hospital,” he said. “This year the number 98 represents the 98% of children world-wide that CMNH help each year with a heart defect. This year both of DM’s Miracle Children were born with heart defects and were/are treated at Shands.”

Participants will not be dancing for 12 hours straight, but will learn a morale dance in the beginning of the event that they will perform every hour for 12 hours.

Blazer-a-thon will feature games, prizes and other organizations raising money and awareness for Shands Hospital.

“The event consists of live DJs, prizes and food donated from local businesses and vendors, entertainers, live miracle stories for Miracle Families of South Georgia, visitors from CMNH, Shands, and other Dance Marathons, the community, volunteers and registered Student Life organizations standing/dancing for a cause,” Johnson said.

Participants will be required to pay a registration fee and meet a fundraising requirement of $98.

“[There’s] a $15 dollar registration fee . . .you must fundraise $98 because 98 percent of all children with heart and lung defects are treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and both of our miracle children have heart defects,” Whetsell said.

Some of the local businesses involved in sponsoring Dance Marathon’s events include:  IHOP, Steel’s Jewelry, Papa Johns, Chubb Reality Ltd/Realtors, Krispy Kreme, Buffalo Wild Wings, Spence Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Mode Boutique, ASTRO Exterminating, Dr. Ed & Mrs. Sandra Hall and SGA of VSU. A few other sponsors include Ellianos, Kent Screen Printing, Chick Fil-A, The Wedge, Winn-Dixie, Harvey’s, Austins and Sonnys.

According to Whetsell, Dance Marathon hopes to raise a five digit total in proceeds for Shands.

“Dance Marathon hopes to raise $20,000 by the end of Blazer-A-Thon,” she said.

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised throughout the year and at Blazer-A-Thon are donated directly to Shands Hospital for Children and benefit the pediatric patients from Georgia.

Participants in Dane Marathon events have been on the rise since 2009, and this year expectations are as high as 300 or more participants.

“The average turn-out for Blazer-A-Thon has been 500 visitors since 2009 with 200 registered dancers,” Johnson said. “As of this week DM is expecting about 300 or more registered dancers and a host of VSU student volunteers. The number of registered dancers is increasing as little by little each day.”

Whetsell is excited to continue a unified tradition.

We are extremely excited to have begun a Valdosta State tradition, and we hope to welcome our miracle families with outstretched arms into the Valdosta State family,” Whetsell said.

According to Johnson, this week is Dance Marathon week. Events for this week are as follows:

Wednesday is Percentage Day at Chick-fil-A (mall only) and Ellianos (20% goes to CMNH) There will also be Dine with DM Night at 8 p.m. at The Wedge on Baytree Road (20% goes to CMNH)

Thursday is DM movie night in Jeanette Hall at 7 p.m. There will be free snacks and a showing ‘BRAVE’

Friday is DM Spirit Day at the Blazer Basketball game supported by VSU Athletics, VSU Cheer, and VSU Red Hots. DM asks that all students bring $1 to the game and donate to CMNH at the door.

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