The Excalibur

This generation, fighting for the next.

Chloe Dougherty, Staff Writer

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On February 17, East Ridge will be joining the effort to fight for the patient children and their families at the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital-University of Health Shands Hospital. By participating in a six-hour mini marathon, the East Ridge student body is hoping to raise money and stand for the sick and injured children who are unable to dance. This is the first year the school is participating in the movement. Allison Teany, a junior at East Ridge and active member of the community, founded this event through the National Honor Society.

Teany first heard about the event through her sister, who is currently a student at the University of Florida and is also an East Ridge alumnus. Her sister participated in UF’s dance marathon, “the largest and most successful student-run philanthropy in the Southeast United States,” according to the UF Dance Marathon website. The event has been successfully run for the past 23 years at UF and has raised more than $15 million in that time. This past year, after fundraising and dancing for 26.2 hours, UF raised a collective $2,724,324.19.

After learning more about the Dance Marathon, Allison knew she had to bring the event to East Ridge. As she took on the role as an “Overall,” Teany looked towards her friends and fellow members of the National Honor Society to be captains. She assigned these roles to those she trusted to share her newfound passion and ensure the event is a success. These captains include Chloe Dougherty, Haley Dykstra, Gabriella Martinez, Kirsten Oliveri, and Katie Zelsman.

Although, the marathon at East Ridge will be smaller-scaled compared to that of UF, Teany still plans to make as large of an impact in the hearts of those in the community. She says her goals for the event include “bringing awareness to an incredible program and more importantly raising money for these kids who are fighting harder than most of us could even imagine. I would really like our school to come together for a really important cause and show support!”

To take part in the effort to fight “For The Kids,” students and staff can purchase tickets for themselves, friends, and/or family members during all three lunches at the school up until the day of the event. Tickets are $10 and can also be purchased at the door. If students and others in the community are unable to attend the event, they are encouraged to still donate towards the cause. To do so, they can contact any of the captains or donate through one of their donor drivers on the dancemarathon.childrensmiraclenetwork website. All donations are greatly appreciated and are such a generous contribution to the children of the community.

The Mini Dance Marathon itself will be six hours of excitement in the school’s gym for all ages. Each hour of the event will be themed to a different decade, starting with the 60s and ending with the music of today’s generations to complete an overall “Decade’s” theme. Dancers can expect to dance to a live musical performance from, East Ridge’s very own band, “Overhang.”

The lead singer of the band, Jalen Johnson, says he is excited to perform because “impacting others’ lives in a positive way by making music is the most amazing experience there is and to know that I can possibly light up these kids’ day just for a short time makes me continue playing music.” Guests will also be invited to play games, such as musical chairs and corn hole. At the end of the night, the total amount raised through donations and ticket sales will be celebrated and the effort to make next year an even bigger success will commence.

In case the event wasn’t already heart-warming enough, the East Ridge Dance Marathon was assigned its own “Miracle Child,” Beckett, a 4-year-old who was transferred to UF Health Shands Hospital after having heart failure at a very young age. On January 15, 2015, Beckett received a heart transplant at UF Health Shands Hospital, with the help of Children’s Miracle Network. Beckett is a member of our community, and just one example of the children you can help by attending the dance on February 17 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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This generation, fighting for the next.